OCEANSIDE — Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) superintendent Larry Perondi announced on Feb. 26 that he would be retiring at the end of June.
Perondi said that after sacrificing his own personal family time during the decades he has worked as an educator and administrator, it was time for him to reconnect with his wife of 42 years.
“I am going to be 62 years old, I’ve been doing this for over 40 years,” he said. “We’ve had great success so I want to come out on top.”
He joined OUSD’s administration as a deputy superintendent in 2005 and was named superintendent two years later.
Perondi attributes his career in education to inspiration from one of his high school social science teacher at Mountain Empire High in Pine Valley, Calif.
“I was one of those kinds of kids that was struggling with identity. I was one of those kids who was choosing a pathway that wasn’t the healthiest for me,” he said about his teenage years.
He said the teacher took an interest in him and told him, “You can be far more than you are allowing yourself to be right now.”
The teacher eventually helped him get a college scholarship for football.
Perondi went on to get his first teaching position as a middle school art teacher in 1975.
“Nobody forgets your first classroom, your first group of kids. You remember shutting the door on the first day and realizing, ‘Now I have to teach them,’” he said.
To get over the teaching jitters, he said, “You come back the next day. And you come back the day after that. You just work as hard as you can, you just give it all you got.”
He said he is most proud of raising Academic Performance Index scores, weathering the budget cuts of recent years, and passing Prop H, a $195 million bond that paid for campus modernizations, during his tenure at OUSD.
A man of sports analogies and an easy laugh, Perondi jokingly said that once retired he would consider being a WalMart greeter part-time. He went on to say that he might be tempted to volunteer or consult for local school districts.
The OUSD Board accepted Perondi’s retirement in closed session at its Feb. 25 meeting.
“Mr. Perondi’s dedication to public education, and most especially his service to the children and families in Oceanside has been nothing short of outstanding and first class,” said OUSD Board President Dr. Adrianne Hakes in a statement. “We are most grateful for all he has contributed to the success and growth of our district and our community.”
The Board has not yet determined if it will select an internal or external candidate to take over the position, according to OUSD Director of Communications Steve Lombard.
Looking ahead, Perondi said that OUSD faces the challenges of integrating Common Core state standards, new school funding system and accountability plan, and the retirements of his fellow baby boomers over the next few years.
As advice for whomever is chosen as the new superintendent, he said, “Remember you are part of a system that is about building a better future for children through public education.”