Saugus Union swears in Laura Arrowsmith as new board president

Laura Arrowsmith speaks at the Saugus Election forum held in James Foster Elementary School Thursday, September 13, 2018. Eddy Martinez/The Signal.

The Saugus Union School District governing board recently held its annual organizational meeting, naming its board leadership for the coming year.

Laura Arrowsmith, who represents Trustee Area No. 2, was sworn in as president during the board’s Dec. 15 organizational meeting. She previously performed the duties of president on an interim basis after former board President Julie Olsen stepped down from the position in August.

Additionally, during the Dec. 15 meeting, David Barlavi, who represents Trustee Area No. 1, was named board clerk.

Arrowsmith said last Tuesday that, under her leadership, the board will be continuing to work on the district’s digital learning programs that had to be implemented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For the near future, we’re going to continue to work to ensure that digital learning provides the highest-quality learning opportunities as possible,” said Arrowsmith. “And we’re going to continue to do everything we can to make our campuses safe for everybody when we are able to return.”

For parents curious about the timeline for return to in-person instruction, Arrowsmith said she shares their curiosity because so much of what the board is able to decide on is determined by state and local health guidelines that are outside the trustees’ control.

“We do receive regular updates, and almost all of those regular updates, if not all of those regular updates, come to the conclusion that we’re not allowed to go back to campus, yet,” said Arrowsmith. “But we can prepare according to the guidelines that are set for us so that as soon as we get the green light we’re ready to go.”

Outside of COVID-19, Arrowsmith said her background as an educator in the Santa Clarita Valley makes her interested in having the board learn more about the teaching and learning going on in the district.

“I’m always interested to hear, ‘OK, what are you learning, what are you implementing and how is it going?’” said Arrowsmith. “So, I’m interested to know what our teachers are actually experiencing and what are their thoughts moving forward.”

Arrowsmith said, as one example for what she’d like to hear more about from SUSD teachers, is how math is being taught in a digital environment and what type of professional development is being offered to assist teachers.

Saugus district Superintendent Colleen Hawkins said Arrowsmith has done an excellent job over the past several months of being both the board clerk and helping support the president position after the resignation of Olsen.

“I look forward to working closely with Mrs. Arrowsmith and in her unique perspective as she is both an elected official and an educator,” said Hawkins.

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