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Streeter welcomes HUSD staff back in preparation for 2019-20 school year

Humboldt Unified School District held their fifth convocation for 805 employees at the Prescott Resort Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Humboldt Unified School District held their fifth convocation for 805 employees at the Prescott Resort Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

Party hats, streamers, colorful logo T-shirts, and pompoms – second-grade teacher Scott Paffumi wore a king’s crown and cape to represent Lake Valley Elementary’s “Cub Kingdom” – were all part of the “800-strong” Humboldt Unified School District faculty and staff welcome back ceremony on Friday morning.

The enthusiastic energy and camaraderie were palpable inside the Prescott Resort ballroom as classroom teachers, bus drivers, IT specialists, school psychologists, janitors, secretaries and administrators cheered the don of a new school year – Superintendent Dan Streeter noted this year’s kindergarteners will be Bradshaw Mountain Bear graduates in 2032.

“I love coming together as one even though we’re individuals,” said Lake Valley speech therapist Cindy Boutin. “This is a very strong district that wants what’s best for our all our kids.”

Bradshaw Mountain High Kort Miner, one of the district’s most loyal cheerleaders, said he can’t wait for the first day, the excitement and possibilities evident in every student who walks through their doors. His school is almost fully staffed with 13 new hires – he is still awaiting one math teacher and a second JROTC instructor.

The now 11-year Bradshaw administrator soaked up the ambience Friday morning, appreciating the chance to mix and mingle with the rest of the district staff and participate in celebrating all the men and women of this district who make such a difference in the lives of the community’s children.

“This is a great opportunity for us to come together and get on the same page,” Miner said.

Bradshaw Mountain ninth-grade computer science teacher Sandra Clark savored the ambience, noting it speaks to the family-atmosphere that pervades this district.

“It’s an amazing place to work,” Clark said of the “very passionate people” employed in the district. “Being able to meet together and here all the accomplishments is the best way to start the year. And to have the community support is huge as well.”

A community resource fair was offered to faculty and staff prior to the opening ceremony, and then throughout the three-hour event some $10,000 worth of door prizes thanks to community businesses were distributed to the staff – everything from restaurant gift certificates to a weed whacker.

The ceremony started with the Bradshaw Mountain chorus singing the “National Anthem” and the Bradshaw Mountain marching band serenading the crowd with various peppy tunes and the school fight song. There were slides of staff from all 10 schools in both formal and funny shots, and a loud and raucous “roll call” for all school and staff groups that include 32 new teachers.

Humboldt Unified Governing Board President Ryan Gray congratulated all, noting there is nothing like the “energy of a new school year.”

He pledged the board’s backing and support for all who are endeavoring to offer this community’s students a myriad of opportunities able to propel them not only through the district but through life. He suggested those in this district may be the answer to a child who comes to them as a question mark.

Gray emphasized this district is all about offering every one of its 5,700 students a “comprehensive, world-class education.”

Humboldt Unified Education Association President Amy Bowser, a Lake Valley and Granville gifted education teacher, called on her peers to stand together to do what’s best for kids and to work in solidarity with one another.

Streeter was the final speaker.

Admitting to a discomfort with the public speaking that comes with this role, Streeter joked he had little inspiration to offer beyond sharing the inspiration he gains from the “passion and purpose” he witnesses in this district year after year. He pledged a continued focus on student achievement – one measured not just in test scores; innovation – one that is not solely connected technology; and culture – one rooted not in history but rather invested in the “joy of learning.”

He said his steadfast belief in the power of this district to offer an enriching and engaging education to all students is proved by entrusting his two sons, Colin and Cade, to this faculty and staff.

Streeter ended his speech with a promise.

“I need you to know that as long as I am superintendent of the Humboldt Unified School District it will be my personal mission to ensure that no child in our community is shortchanged, or receives a substandard education, because of poor funding at the state level or because of asinine ideas coming from politicians.”

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