Joan Lucid, the Santa Clarita Valley’s longest-serving superintendent, announced Tuesday that she will retire at the end of the school year.
Her retirement, effective June 29, will come seven years after the Saugus Union School District first appointed her to the position in May 2011 and nearly four decades after she joined the district as a teacher in 1980.
“It never occurred to me to do anything different,” Lucid said. “Its home and it has been since the day I walked in the door. I work with amazing people.”
Lucid, who turned 70 years old this year, said she plans to spend time with her family and grandchildren, and take time to travel once she retires.
“I think there comes a time when you need to evaluate where you are and the things you want to do,” she said. “I turned 70 years old at the middle of this year and that is a significant milestone.”
Lucid began her career as an educator in 1970 as an elementary teacher for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
In 1981, Lucid joined the Saugus district as an elementary school teacher at Skyblue Mesa Elementary School, before taking on similar roles at Highlands Elementary School and Honby Elementary School, which is now part of the Sulphur Springs district as Canyon Springs Elementary School.
She then joined the district team as a Project Coordinator where she revised and created district guides and handbooks, established and developed seminars and meetings, and assisted in writing many of the schools’ state and national award applications.
Her hard work was noticed, and rewarded, by the district and she was appointed principal of Cedarcreek Elementary School in 1991 where she focused on meeting the needs of the school’s growing English Language Learner population.
Six years later, in 1997, Lucid moved to the district to act as assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction where she implemented a new district-wide curriculum and helped improve standardized test scores.
In May 2011, at 62 years old, Lucid was named superintendent of the Saugus district where she replaced then-superintendent Judy Fish who retired.
Originally, Lucid’s contract was expected to end June 30, 2016, but the Saugus District Governing Board decided in August 2015 to extend the contract for two years to June 30, 2018.
“Dr. Lucid has been important part of our district family for many years,” Governing Board President Christopher Trunkey said. “We will miss her and her leadership but she has earned a long and happy retirement. There is still much for us to accomplish before she leaves and we look forward to the community’s input as we start our search for a new superintendent.”
As superintendent of the Saugus district, Lucid oversees 15 elementary schools that have earned notoriety for being named Gold Ribbon Award schools, Blue Ribbon Award schools, Honor Roll schools, Title 1 Achieving Award schools and Exemplary Arts Award schools.
She led the district’s vision to promote academic and personal success for every child, while increasing overall student achievement.
In 2017, the district performed above the state average in its standardized test scores with 62.71 percent of students in third grade to sixth grade who met or exceeded standards in ELA and 51.02 percent who met or exceeded standards in math.
Under her leadership, Charles Helmers Elementary won the city’s 30 Things for 30 Years contest, Skyblue Mesa Elementary celebrated 50 years and Emblem Elementary reopened as Emblem Academy with focus on STEM.
However, one of Lucid’s proudest initiatives was promoting technology in the classroom.
“The thing that I saw that really struck me has to do with technology. I came into the district and we were using TRS-80s and I can remember trying to work with first graders and toggle in from one program to another and having them shut the entire network now,” Lucid said. “Now we have desktops and everything is at our fingertips. Putting the interactive flat panels in all of our schools was amazing and changed how our teachers teach and is so engaging for our children.”
She is also proud to leave behind a legacy that includes getting Chromebooks in the hands of every child.
“Our kids will really be prepared for the 21st century and the work that they will be doing,” Lucid said.
In addition, the district was the first to pilot the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) program that improved student behavior by teaching them about expectations and rewarding them when they behave appropriately.
She also helped the district continue its Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) program with TOSAs who assist with art and music, education technology, physical education and English Language Development, and she fostered an environment where SUSD students want to return to their home district and even their home schools.
“I have been honored and humbled to have served 37 years in Saugus Union School District… dedicated to elementary education as a teacher, project coordinator, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent,” Lucid wrote in a letter to the district’s Governing Board and community. “I want to thank each one of you, previous boards, administrators, colleagues and community members, who have encouraged me, supported me and celebrated with me through this absolutely amazing career filled with so many joyous memories.”
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_