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Sequoia union school district board names new superintendent

Sequoia union school district board names new superintendent

Larry Lakey is retiring after 37 years in education, nearly all of them in the Exeter area where he was applauded by students, parents and teachers alike.

“I am really going to miss talking to the kids,” Lakey said. “Even kids having trouble will one day be in charge long after I’m gone. Every kid eventually grows up, it’s just a matter of how many grey hairs they give you along the way.”

Lakey will retire as Superintendent of Sequoia Union School District in Lemon Cove following the end of the school year. He took the job in 2005 after 28 years of teaching agriculture and work experience, working as a counselor/dean and coaching softball at Exeter Union High School. Lakey took the job at single-school district focused on continuing to increase test scores, upgrade facilities and improve water quality at the school. Eight years later, Sequoia Union’s API score of 845 was among the County’s elite, the district is in the middle of doubling the size of its multipurpose gymnasium and adding four new classrooms and has just began a project to help with the water quality.

“I really care about kids and believe in kids,” Lakey said. “You never expect kids to come back and say ‘thank you’ educator, but I have had that experience several times. Kids don’t care how much you know, they just want to know how much you care.”

The move was a natural for Lakey who moved to Mehrten Valley just outside of Lemon Cove from Visalia 18 years ago. Lakey also knew many of the parents because he taught their children in high school, as Sequoia Union feeds into Exeter Union High School.

“I think this crop of eighth graders will be among the top of their graduating class at EUHS,” Lakey said.

Lakey will be replaced as superintendent by Dr. Jerimicha “Jeremy” Powell who will begin his duties on June 30. Powell was overwhelmingly selected by the Sequoia Union School Board of Trustees following a lengthy search process which netted 50 applicants.

“Dr. Powell has leadership qualities that are unparalleled. He possesses a vision and energy that will take Sequoia Union to new levels of teaching and learning,” said Matt McEwen, board president. “We are confident in Dr. Powell’s abilities to continue building on Sequoia Union’s strong foundation.”

Dr. Powell is currently the principal of Bartlett Middle School in Porterville. He also serves as Porterville Unified School District’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) coordinator. Since 2006, he has overseen an increase in Bartlett Middle School’s Academic Performance Index (API) of 56 points. He has also been a leader in implementing the new Common Core State Standards and technology-embedded learning, while raising daily attendance in Bartlett Middle School’s afterschool program from 35 to 175 students. Dr. Powell earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Chico, a Master’s in Educational Administration from CSU Fresno and a doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of California at Davis/CSU Fresno Joint Doctoral Program. A National Board Certified Teacher, Dr. Powell is a regional board member of the Association of California School Administrators and has worked as a consultant for WestEd Educational Consulting since 2010, focusing on whole school and district improvement through essential standards and strategic year-long pacing. “Dr. Powell’s proven track record and extensive knowledge of the educational system will translate to further success at Sequoia Union,” McEwen said. “We are looking forward to his leadership.”

For more information on Sequoia Union, contact Board President Matt McEwen at (559) 280-0015.

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