Carpinteria Unified School District has announced that Lisa Venable O’Shea will be the new interim Principal for Carpinteria Middle School for the 2018-19 school year. The announcement follows former CMS Principal Ron Brigg’s departure in June, the timing of which gave the district leadership team a short recruitment time to fill the seat. In January, the district will open the permanent vacancy with a local search.
“We are thrilled that Lisa is joining the CMS team as she reflects the values of our district and community,” said Superintendent Diana Rigby, “She received stellar recommendations from her previous supervisor in Oxnard High School, and she brings positive energy and optimism in all that she does. She has vast teaching and leadership experience for more than 30 years, and she is committed to students and their learning.”
On July 26, CVN conducted an email Q & A with interim Principle Venable O’Shea to learn more about what she will be bringing to CMS.
CVN: Where did you study to be an educator/administrator and what degrees do you hold?
Lisa Venable O’Shea: I received my bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and my master’s degree from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas. I hold a degree in mid-management administration and an administrator certificate from the state of California.
Do you have an area of expertise?
I have a solid understanding of what learning looks like—getting into classrooms to ensure that students are engaged at high levels and are applying their learning. I was a full-time secondary math teacher for 27 years before becoming an administrator. I also have experience being an administrator over special education. I have a strong desire to see that all students are engaged and learning, and that we are meeting students’ individual needs, whether that be through accommodations, modifications or interventions.
Where are you from? How would you describe your hometown and childhood?
I have been in California for 20 years now, but there is a part of me that is still a Texan. Santa Barbara is my current hometown, but I grew up in small-town Texas. My high school had 400 students and I was a twirler. In high school I was involved in various school activities, i.e. Key Club, National Honor Society. Volleyball was my sport. The town I grew up in was the type where the only thing to do was to get in the car with your friends and drive up and down main street. I am still close to my friends from elementary school and am thankful for that time of my life, though I would never want to go back after being spoiled here in the American Riviera!
When did you know that you wanted to be a principal and why?
During my first student-teaching experience I was inspired by the female principal. I knew that was what I wanted as my career. Also, my dad was a middle school principal. As a teacher, my administrators always inspired me. I have been in administration now and I have loved the job. Connecting with students and staff, in turn, inspires me.
What led up to that career path?
Twenty-seven years in the classroom where I served as department chair, dean of the math department, administrative designee, and so on.
What do you love most about being a principal?
Connecting with people—the students, staff and families.
What are you excited about doing at CMS?
I am excited about getting to know the students, staff and families of Carpinteria Middle School. I am also interested in learning about the culture and seeing how I can contribute to a culture of caring while maintaining high standards for academic achievement.
What do you think will be your greatest challenge at CMS?
I think every new principal hopes that they will have a willing staff that is open and receptive. I am hoping that is the case and am extremely eager to meet the people who make up Carpinteria Middle School. Whatever challenges we face, we will face head on and be successful as a team.
Do you have an anti-bullying plan that you’ll be implementing at CMS?
No. That will be something I will work on with the Leadership Team if they feel that there is a need. We will implement PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) strategies, a CUSD initiative, so that students feel respected and cared for on campus. It is an expectation of mine that students treat each other with respect and honor their differences. Bullying will not be tolerated and we will educate students to be accepting of all members of our school. We will make sure that students with disabilities are regularly among general education students so they learn to appreciate one another.
How would you describe yourself as a principal?
Caring and connected. We will be a supportive family at CMS.
What makes you special as a principal?
I think the fact that I have been in the classroom so long gives me credibility among teachers. I understand the challenges that they’re facing to engage students and have students apply their learning in meaningful ways so that it will stay with them. It is my job to come alongside them to support them however I can. I also deeply care about the students and staff, though I have yet to meet them!