High school leader to retire

Van Riley, superintendent of Union High district for last seven years, announces he's stepping down.

December 22, 2010|By Britney Barnes and Michael Miller,
  • Van Riley.
Van Riley. (Michael Chan Yee,…)

The Huntington Beach Union High School District's superintendent is set to retire at the end of the month.

Supt. Van W. Riley is retiring after more than seven years from the district, which oversees six high schools, an independent study program, and a continuation, a community day and alternative education schools.

"I wish to offer my sincerest thank you to the Huntington Beach Union High School District community for making my seven and half years here a time that I will always cherish," Riley said in his farewell letter. "I believe that together we have accomplished some great things and that the direction in which we are headed is very positive."

Riley has headed the district during the last three years of budget problems and, with the staff, was able to work through it, according to his letter.

Riley offered advice to staff in his farewell, saying to take pride in the district's facilities, save the special reserve funds for emergencies, respect each other and, lastly, remember that it's all for the kids.


"First, don't ever forget that we are here first for our students, and next for our wonderful employees," he said in the letter. "Everything else comes after providing for students and staff."

Duane Dishno, a former superintendent for the district, will take over as interim superintendent while the district seeks a permanent replacement, school board Trustee Bonnie Castrey said.

Castrey said Riley had been a productive and hard-working leader for the district, citing his work on Measure C, the ballot measure that modernized the district's campuses.

"After the board and community worked together to pass the modernization, we really worked with Van very closely to assure that the money was spent wisely, and as a result of that, through good money management, we've been able to modernize all the schools and get through all the various options that were in the ballot measure," she said. "So in terms of money management, he's been terrific."

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