Behind the Front Page: Retirements, resignations, and Ramona Day at the Fair
WHO’S COUNTING?—Add another two names to the list of administrative retirees and resignations at Ramona Unified: Phyllis Munoz, Ramona Elementary principal, and Anne Staffieri, assistant superintendent of human resources. Superintendent Robert Graeff made the announcement of Munoz’s retirement on April 10, and Staffieri’s name is on Escondido Union High School District’s April 16 agenda as a “new hire” with the same title — assistant superintendent, human resources.
Word of Munoz’s retirement and Staffieri’s pending resignation, effective at the end of the school year, follows the resignation of former Assistant Superintendent of Education Services Cathy Pierce, who left the district to accept the superintendent’s post in Santee, and retirement announcements from Olive Pierce Middle School Principal Linda Solis and Ramona Community School Principal Carol Tennebaum. Trustees have announced that James Dukes Elementary Principal Pauline Leavitt, former OPMS vice principal, will be the middle school’s principal effective July 1, leaving the James Dukes post open.
Considering the district’s tenuous budget situation and discord with teachers, one could assume some are abandoning ship. Not so, says Bob Stoody, school board president. Three are retiring after lengthy careers in education: Solis started her education career in 1969, Tennebaum’s been teaching in Ramona 35 years, and Munoz has been an educator for 35 years.
Pierce and Staffieri?
“We have really good people here,” said Stoody. “People from other districts are saying, hey, we want your people, and they’re willing to pay for it.”
Pierce’s move was an advancement to superintendent, and Staffieri’s puts her closer to her home and family in Temecula, he said, explaining why both changes make sense to him.
Many in the district speculate that Ramona High School Principal Tony Newman also will be leaving at the end of the school year — to move into the assistant superintendent of human resources post in the district office.
Trustees in November opted not to replace Pierce, dividing her duties between Graeff, who had the job before being promoted to superintendent, and Pat Ravin, interim director of assessment and categorical programs. Trustees also decided not to fill Ravin’s previous job as teacher-on-assignment.
END OF WRESTLING ERA—After 22 years as Ramona High School’s head wrestling coach, Steve Koch is turning in his keys. The 1979 Ramona High graduate teaches history and critical issues at the school. He was Teacher of the Year in 2001 and State Coach of the Year in 2004.
His wrestling teams also have been winners. This year’s Bulldog wrestlers ended the season as Valley League champs. With Koch as head coach, RHS has had 32 wrestlers qualify for state meets, 50 individual CIF champions, four CIF team championships, 10 CIF team runners-up, eight league championships, four County Team Academic Championships, and two State Team Academic Runners-Up honors.
“All team accomplishments were a result of a committed coaching staff and hundreds of dedicated student-athletes and their families and friends, who worked very hard to represent Ramona High School and the community of Ramona,” Koch said. “Personally, it was the tremendous support of my family which enabled me to be a part of this outstanding program for 22 years. Without them, none of this would have been possible for me, and for that, and to them, I am eternally grateful.”
Most importantly, RHS wrestling is not about one person, Koch said, emphasizing the “not.” “It is about a large number of individuals committed to being a part of something special, people who are willing to work harder than most, and in the process carry on the lessons and discipline developed on the mats throughout the rest of their lives.”
The coach in him added, “From the victories came greatness, and from the losses, life’s lessons.”
Being head coach for 22 years no doubt took its toll. Koch, who will continue teaching at RHS, has faith in his replacement, saying, “We have a great young coach, Duayne Guile, who is deserving of becoming the head coach.”
Koch may no longer be head coach, but he’ll be at the matches. His youngest son, Austin, is a varsity wrestler and Koch says he’d “like to spend more time watching him.”
The community wishes him well in his “retirement.”
GAME ON!—That’s the theme of the 2013 San Diego County Fair, scheduled from June 8 through July 4 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. This year’s fair will spotlight classic and nostalgic games many of us grew up with and will show how games have evolved over the years.
Ramona Day at the fair will be Saturday, June 29. Ramona Chamber of Commerce invites businesses in its organization to help promote the town as well as their business that day.
Amber Ramirez, chamber first vice president and Farmers Insurance/Ramirez Agency, is coordinating the chamber’s efforts. She’ll know more after an orientation meeting with county fair officials.
Booths for Ramona businesses will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. They can showcase and celebrate the community by selling crafts, glassware, or novelty items that promote Ramona and let the public know about the town. Promotional materials, demonstrations, flyers, coupons, and free samples are allowed at the booths.
Participation is free, and the booths will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. After that, head out and enjoy the rest of the fair.
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