New assistant superintendent

Madison Sinclair, Editor-in-Chief/Managing Editor

This school year, Laguna Beach Unified School District has welcomed Dr. Alysia Odipo as Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services. Odipo started in mid-August and replaced Darlene Messinger who retired on July 29.

“I am thrilled to be selected for this position. Laguna Beach Unified School District has a reputation of excellence, and I am honored to be a part of such a dynamic team,” said Odipo.

Odipo has experience as a first-grade teacher, gaining insight into the workings of school teaching. She served as the principal at Quail Summit Elementary School in the Walnut Valley Unified School District, and she has been a middle school assistant principal and literacy coach; through these stages of her career, she modeled lessons for teachers all over California. She most recently served as Director of Elementary Education in Bellflower Unified School District.

“Dr. Odipo’s vast experiences in education, her focus on building relationships with staff, students and community, and her focus on teaching and learning make her the perfect fit to join the LBUSD team,” said superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria.

Odipo attended Westmont College, earning a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. She went on to earn a master’s degree in educational leadership from California State University, Los Angeles and a doctorate degree in K-12 leadership from the University of Southern California.

“I have two teaching credentials. I initially intended to be a special education teacher. I applied for a job, and at the very last minute, I swapped from special education to first-grade teaching to support my principal. I fell in love with first grade,” said Odipo.

Odipo is familiar with the Laguna Beach area. Born in Pasadena, she moved all around Southern California during her childhood. Her mother Marge Hobbs was in education, a principal at Top of the World Elementary School from 1990-1993. Her father worked in finance, changing jobs frequently.Odipo attended four elementary schools and two high schools. She has lived in Laguna Beach, San Clemente and Dana Hills and even attended Dana Hills High School.

“As a family, we were down here on the weekends. My grandfather owned rentals down by Victoria Beach, and part of my job was to change linens on the weekends. So I was in Laguna Beach all the time as a kid, and when the assistant superintendent position came up, I thought, ‘I’ll try for that because it is an extraordinary place,’” said Odipo.

Throughout her career, Odipo has proven her success in building relationships, developing school culture and promoting synergism within schools. She has had success as an active member of curriculum and teacher of professional development. Odipo has worked to integrate the new California State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards as well as develop programs in performing arts, music, physical education, Gifted & Talented Education (GATE) and transitional kindergarten. She has spoken in Shanghai, Kenya and throughout California.

As an assistant superintendent, Odipo plans to meet with teachers and instructional aides and to develop programs that are meaningful to students. Her department of Instructional Services is responsible for teacher and student support, a duty she believes is a privilege. Although Odipo misses day-to-day interaction with students, she gets to observe classes frequently and knows that her work has a far-reaching benefit.

“There is nothing more powerful than a teacher. A teacher made all the difference for me when I was a kid,” said Odipo.