Briefly In Education

Finn nominated as educator of year

Scott Finn, a Laguna Beach High School special education teacher who also coaches surfing and golfing, has been nominated for the California League of High Schools “Educator of the Year" award.

The award is given annually to 11 educators who illustrate educational excellence and have made noteworthy endeavors to implement elements of educational improvements in high schools.

Principal Don Austin, who said the nomination came as a result of the special education staff looking for a way to honor Finn, praised his abilities as both an athlete who is a “local legend" and a teacher.


“He easily adapts to any situation and has a caring heart for all kids," Austin said. “He uses his experience as a high-level professional surfer to connect with students who otherwise may be missed on a comprehensive high school campus.

“Mr. Finn has the highest level of integrity and is one of the finest role models I have encountered throughout my career. He teaches the importance of taking care of our beaches, maintaining a drug-free lifestyle, and always doing your best. He brings a warm smile and great attitude to work each day.

“He looks for ways to improve our school, including the addition of stand up paddle boarding for P.E. classes this year. He connects with our community and is a pleasure to work with."

Inspired by his grandfather, “Coach Perry," Finn joined the district first as a physical education teacher at Thurston Middle School in 2003 and then the high school faculty in 2007.


The best part of his teaching day, Finn said, is “the sunrise at surf team and the sun setting at golf team and all that goes on in between. Communicating to kids that they matter and having fun is what I try to achieve every day."

Over the course of his career, he was rated by Surfing Magazine as the best surfing high school teacher and named Cal State Fullerton’s Kinesiology Graduate of the Year in 2002.

He led the 2003 Boys Varsity Surf Team League Champions, the 2007-08 and 2008-09 Varsity Boys Golf Orange Coast League Champions and 2008-09 Varsity Boys Golf Team selection CIF Southern Section Team Academic Champions.

Festival scholarship program opens

The Festival of Arts 2009-10 scholarship program, open to all high school seniors who live in Laguna Beach, is accepting applications through March 5.

Applications are available at or at the Festival of Arts office, 650 Laguna Canyon Road.

English course for adults begins

The Laguna Beach Unified School District Adult Education Program will offer a free English-as-a-second-language course from Feb. 2 to June 23.


Classes are from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays at Laguna Beach High School, Room 90, 625 Park Ave., above the swimming pool. Call (949) 497-7700, ext. 210.

Parents Club reviews schools

The Laguna Beach Parents Club will host its annual preschool and kindergarten discussion forum from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Twelve local private and public schools will be represented. Parent speakers will provide attendees with a brief overview of each school and their personal experiences with the program.

The forum is free and open to all parents. E-mail or call (949) 497-3203.

Endowment milestone reached

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach endowment fund has reached $500,000 of its goal of $6 million.

Reaching this first milestone was made possible through a generous group of club friends and supporters who are now members of the Heritage Club.


Mary Church, a new Heritage Club member who made a contribution to the endowment in memory of Brian Dessin Day, also added the club as a beneficiary in her life insurance policy.

“I wanted to see the legacy of our community’s art continue because it is the fabric of Laguna Beach," Church said. “These types of gifts will help to ensure that our young people carry on the art and creativity of Laguna Beach by participating in the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach award winning art programs."

The Heritage Club is an association of friends of the club who have included a gift to the club in their will or estate plans or have given a Legacy gift. Call Michelle at (949) 494-2535 ext. 103 or visit

Junior Lifeguard clinics offered

The Community Services Department will offer Junior Lifeguard Clinics to prepare and train those 8 older who want to try out for the Laguna Beach Junior Guard Program.

Participants will develop and improve their swimming endurance, strength and speed. The first clinic runs from Feb. 27 through March 13, and the second is from March 20 through April 3. Each clinic runs for three Saturdays, in the morning.

The swim test will be administered the last day of each clinic. Cost is $15 for three classes. For more information, call (949) 376-9818 or e-mail Adam Gufarotti at