New superintendent takes reins at Lemoore Elementary School District

By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore Elementary School District Superintendent Cheryl Hunt
Lemoore Elementary School District Superintendent Cheryl Hunt

The first day of school is just around the corner, August 17, and over 3,200 students in the Lemoore Elementary School District, as well as a teaching staff of 156 teachers – 21 new teachers – will be greeted by the smiling face of new superintendent Cheryl Hunt.

Since 2006, students and staff had been greeted on that first day by Rick Rayburn, who in June, after 40 years in education and 10 years as the Lemoore Elementary School District superintendent, decided to retire, and hand the reins over to Hunt.

Hunt, 47, a former Hanford High School cheerleader, no doubt will spend much of her first few days cheering on her staff and students after officially beginning her duties on July 1. Hunt arrived in Lemoore last year as the district’s assistant superintendent, and she made such an impact that the school’s board of trustees readily promoted her to the top job.

Hunt, a native of Canoga Park, arrived in Hanford in 1972 with her family. She graduated from Hanford High in 1987 and then attended Fresno State on a cheerleading scholarship. She studied biology and intended to go into the science or medical field, but because of her work with kids during her college days, she instead decided to enter the teaching profession.

She began her career in education teaching biology in 1994 at Corcoran High School. She also taught chemistry and physics. In 1998 Hunt returned to Hanford High and again taught biology and chemistry. She also served as the curriculum coordinator for the science department.

Her administrative bosses at the time urged her to earn an administrative credential and Master’s degree, which she did. “I ended up being selected as the vice principal at Hanford High School in 2004,” she said. “I interviewed and got the principal’s job at Hanford High School and worked there from 2007 to 2012.”

The next step in her career found her at Fresno Unified where she served as an assistant superintendent responsible for Special Education and Health Services. She also supported the district’s curriculum and instructional programs.

“In 2015 the job in Lemoore opened up, and because I still lived in Hanford, the position seemed like a good one,” said Hunt. “I was missing the small community atmosphere.”

Hunt says that when Rayburn decided to retired, she was honored that the school board asked her to take the district’s top job. “I was honored to be promoted to the superintendent’s job,” she said.

It has been difficult, but, despite a nation-wide teacher shortage, the LUESD managed to hire 21 new teachers to teach at the six-school district of 3,200 students. “We are doing really well,” said Hunt. “We have hired 21 teachers to date, so all of our positions are filled at this point of time. We want to have solid teachers to put in front of our kids. We also hired some good, veteran staff from surrounding districts. We have a handful that are brand new to teaching.”

Hunt said this year’s goals including planning for the future, which includes focusing on math and English and “improving student achievement, student progress, and making sure our students are here every day.”

Hunt also plans to open the doors to parents. “That’s a big challenge, ensuring that we have opened up the door to support our parents and allow them to be our partners … to support our students.”

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