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Our Opinion: Holtville talent at the top

August 17, 2001

Change at the top of the Holtville Unified School District can only be looked at as a good thing.

The tenures of the last two HUSD superintendents were more than rocky, as one, the other or both engaged in battles with the community, the school board and district employees.

Things should be smoother with Pat Maruca at the helm of the district. Maruca, hired this week by the Holtville school board, is a veteran El Centro elementary school principal with a reputation for running a tight ship but not at the exclusion of maintaining close relationships with students and parents.

Some in Holtville may mistakenly think because of her diminutive stature and ready smile that Maruca will be an easy touch. Those who know her are more than aware Maruca demands a lot from employees, and those who aren't willing to work as hard as they can will have to deal with her.


We have heard that there are more than a few HUSD employees who are set like concrete in their ways, arguing "that's the way it's always been done" even when it's wrong and "that's not my job" when it just could be if they were a little more flexible or interested in really helping. Those attitudes won't fly with Pat Maruca.

The Holtville district, aside from suffering from a degree of malaise, also has facilities that need to be fixed and standardized tests scores that need to go up. Maruca will come in intent on getting those areas addressed.

Aside from her own significant background in education, Maruca has a fine resource at home in her husband, Joe Maruca. Joe Maruca is now a county supervisor but spent many years in the Imperial Valley as a school district superintendent, with much success.

Pat Maruca will be joined in Holtville by new principals at three of the district's five schools. All bring fine reputations with them, and the two district principals returning to Holtville schools are highly regarded.

Speaking of fine educators, Anne Mallory, former superintendent of the Westmorland school district and now a special assistant to the county superintendent of schools, will return to her county job after doing a fine job as interim superintendent in Holtville and getting some important projects rolling. She leaves the district in better shape than when she arrived.

It's a bright new day in education in Holtville. We think with the infusion of new talent at the top, the sunshine should last a long time.

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