Solana Beach School District superintendent focused on maintaining district’s excellenceLeslie Fausset has worn many hats in the education world. Throughout her nearly 40 years, she’s done everything from teaching first graders to serving as Chief Deputy Superintendent for Policy and Programs for the California Department of Education (CDE). These days she’s at the helm as superintendent for the Solana Beach School District, a post she’s had for five years now. The role is especially fitting considering she’s lived here more than 30 years and had two children go through Solana Beach schools, which she said “served them very well.” Here she sheds some light on what keeps her committed to public education and what lies ahead for the district this year.
What inspired you to enter education?
It happened quite by accident. I graduated college not exactly sure what I want to do. I had the chance to do some traveling, and it was during that time I figured out I really wanted to work with young people, and hopefully make a difference for the better by doing that. So I started teaching and I’ve loved education ever since then. I still look forward to coming to work every day.
What are some of the challenges the district has faced since you’ve been here?
Every public district the past three years has seen immense cuts, which is a challenge we haven’t been exempt from. It has not been easy, but fortunately we’ve been able to manage during a very difficult time. In our district, most of those budget cuts have been undetected by our kids, and we still have reasonable class sizes. Our community also continues to be amazingly supportive, which allows us to offer a comprehensive curriculum. We’re very fortunate to have what we have. Another challenge in our district has been the gap in achievement between some of our kids who are second-language learners or lower income. In the last four to five years, we’ve been successful in narrowing that gap while still accelerating that top end. We’re especially pleased with those results.
What are some of the goals you hope to work toward this year?
I hope to further enrich the new language arts program we launched last year. A piece of that program involves more exposure to non-fiction reading because we’re trying to prepare our kids for a more highly technical society. We’ve also been working to create curriculum that links computer lab work to book lessons for more comprehensive learning, so that’s something we’ll be continuing to work toward. We’ll constantly be working to move our kids forward. Our work is every day, every way.
Is there anything you’d like to add about the district?
I’d like to stress how amazing our teachers are. They’re devoted to the kids, and they grow and learn from each other. They’re constantly finding ways to work smarter, which benefits the kids. Everyone here, from teachers, to staff, to parents, have a constant focus on the kids. This is an amazing district that exemplifies in many ways the very best of public education. This district is the kind of experience every kid should get.
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