A search is now underway for a new superintendent for the Westminster School District. Cynthia Paik, who took over the post of the top educator for the 10,000-student K-8 district in late May, was ousted by the WSD Board of Trustees in October.
No public statement of the reason for her firing was issued by the board or the district.
“The Board of Trustees has parted ways with Dr. Paik,” said board president Peggy Loomer, “but we have appointed two extremely talented and respected interim superintendents that will lead the district in consecutive terms until we hire our next superintendent in the spring. The board is deeply committed to the mission, vision and goals of the Westminster School District and to sustaining and strengthening the innovative student programs we are well known for.”
Sheri Loewenstein, who had earlier served in the superintendent post for the district, will perform those duties again in an interim basis through January.
Gary Rutherford will take over in February until a new superintendent is hired. Rutherford has served as superintendent of several school systems, including the Huntington Beach City School District, which serves the southern half of that city.
Paik succeeded Marian Kim Phelps, who left the WSD to become superintendent of the Poway Unified School District in San Diego County.
Phelps replaced Richard Tauer, who was hired in 2010 and left in 2013 after being placed on “indefinite paid administrative leave” by the board.
Paik will be paid her salary of $220,000 and health benefits for a year. A graduate of USC, Paik had said she planned to make the district – which serves most of Westminster as well as Midway City and portions of Garden Grove and Huntington Beach – a “destination” for parents shopping for better schooling, and as a way of coping with declining enrollment.