TVSB News & Press
MAY 24, 2022 CARPINTERIA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT MEETING – The Carpinteria Unified School District Board honored five personnel who will be retiring this school year after meritorious service within the district, as well as honored exiting CUSD Board President Jayme Bray.
Mary Keane-Gruener, Culinary Teacher at Carpinteria High School and honored at the meeting by Carpinteria High School Principal Gerardo Cornejo, has served the district for 35 years. Principal Cornejo thanked Keane-Gruener for “leaving a legacy that will be difficult to replace and inspiring us to become better people and educators.” Boardmember Andy Sheaffer expressed how it was exciting to see Keane-Gruener transform the culinary arts program into “such a successful place for students to learn life and career skills that will be with them for a long time.”
Darcie Campbell, Academic Counselor at Carpinteria High School and honored at the meeting by Carpinteria High School Principal Gerardo Cornejo, has served the district for 21 years. Campbell has played an integral role in the transitionary period from high school to success beyond. Whether it be guiding students in college applications or personal situations, students “always go to Ms. Campbell.” She has been a mentor and role model to other academic counselors, as well as a guide to parents in navigating their children’s teenage years.
Debra Leiter, Science Teacher at Carpinteria Middle School and honored at the meeting by Carpinteria Middle School Principal Lisa O’Shea, has served the district for 28 years. Described as “the untitled leader of CMS,” Leiter is often the first person to “take new staff under her wing.” Known for her great sense of humor, joy, laughter and love for teaching, many students will remember Leiter for making school fun, being the teacher whose class everyone wanted to be in and providing an example of dedication, honesty and integrity for students and staff.
Kathleen Tomscha, Teacher at Canalino Elementary School and honored at the meeting by Canalino Elementary School Principal Jamie Persoon, has served the district for 21 years. Students and staff commend Tomscha for her “absolute dedication,” as she is often the first person on campus and stays quite late in the day. During breaks, lunch and before/after school, students would often visit Tomscha’s classroom, for assistance or just to hang out. “She made students feel unique, special and cared for” and is described as one of those impactful teachers you’ll never forget.
Teresa Koontz, GATE/EL Teacher and GATE Program Coordinator for CUSD and honored at the meeting by CUSD Director of Special Education Karla Curry, has served the district for 33 years. Koontz began as a first-grade teacher for bilingual English and Spanish-speaking students from 1989 to 1998 and has served as the GATE Program Coordinator since 1998. She has been a core implementer of STEM in the district through Project Lead The Way and has also worked to expand the program to include ELL and ESL students. Boardmember Sally Green fondly recalls students asking her “Is Ms. Koontz here today?,” as she is widely loved in all of her extensive areas of the GATE, STEM and ESL programs.
Jayme Bray, President of the Carpinteria Unified School District Board of Trustees and honored at the meeting by Superintendent Diana Rigby, was recognized for her dedicated service to the Board for the past four years, her “commitment and devotion to the power of our public schools, and belief in the success of every employee and student.” Boardmember Sheaffer expressed how Bray will “be deeply missed.” Boardmember Sally Green shared a special memory of the drive they made to a San Diego conference four years ago when they were both first elected to the Board, and how it was “fun to get to know you and a pleasure to have you on the Board.”
Pictured (from left to right, top to bottom): Culinary Teacher Mary Keane-Gruener and Principal Gerardo Cornejo (CHS), Counselor Darcie Campbell and Principal Cornejo (CHS), Teacher Kathleen Tomscha and Principal Jamie Persoon (Canalino), GATE/EL Teacher Teresa Koontz and Director of Special Education Karla Curry (CUSD), Superintendent Diana Rigby and Board President Jayme Bray (CUSD), Science Teacher Debra Leiter and Principal Lisa O’Shea (CMS)