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Laguna Beach

New bylaw proposed to “censure” board members at special School Board meeting held on Monday


The Board of Education met on Monday, March 18 in a special meeting described by Board President Jan Vickers as a policy workshop.

The three-hours-plus meeting included discussion of additional bylaw changes proposed, and may have been one of the last board meetings at which the public is afforded the opportunity to speak on multiple occasions about the same issue. Among the policies discussed by the board and staff were limitations on public comment about items on or not on meeting agendas.

“I feel this would be a disservice to parents of children in the district, as well as to the board’s ability to govern effectively,” said Monica Prado, Sawdust Festival president and the parent of a child who was educated in the district.

“An approval is out of sync with the city’s aspiration to be invitational. We are a community that is very engaged with a high level of volunteerism. We want to hear our friends and neighbors’ opinions. We don’t want that stifled.”

Public participation was addressed in the lengthy agenda for Monday morning’s meeting, including Bylaw 9322, which states that “members of the public shall be provided the opportunity to address the Board on any agenda item before or during the board’s consideration of the item.” 

However, the following italicized information was suggested to be added to the bylaw as an amendment:

The agenda need not provide an opportunity for public comment when the agenda item has previously been considered at an open meeting of a committee comprised exclusively of board members, provided that members of the public were afforded an opportunity to comment on the item at that meeting and that the item has not been substantially changed since the committee considered it.”

The board also discussed at the meeting a new bylaw on censuring board members for improper conduct.

If approved, any board member shall have the right to place on the board’s Public Session Agenda a Motion to Censure the supposedly offending board member.    

“I think it is directed at me,” said Board Member Dee Perry, who has recently been at odds with some board and staff members, after being passed over as board president for a second time. Perry has stated that she feels parents are afraid to speak up at meetings out of fear of retaliation.

Board President Jan Vickers, Board Members Carol Normandin, Peggy Wolff and Dee Perry attended the meeting. Normandin has not responded to contacts from Stu News and Wolff referred questions to Assistant Superintendent Leisa Winston. Board Member James Kelly did not attend the meeting. 

“Most policies that were reviewed were due to changes in law and were in a number of areas,” wrote Board President Jan Vickers in an email response to questions from Stu News. Thirteen policies were reviewed.

“The policies that were reviewed and discussed now come forward for a first reading at the March 26th regular meeting. At that meeting, they will come forward for action and after public comment, a motion and second will put them on the floor and allow the board to discuss them. The three board bylaws that were discussed at the workshop will be introduced individually with the same process – public comment, motion and second and then board discussion. 

“After discussion on an item on the floor, a vote is taken. The policies that are passed for a second reading return usually at the next regular meeting for the second action. If these policies are voted to second reading, they will likely come at the meeting in April.”

No member of the public attended Monday’s meeting, which was noticed on the District’s website at 9:26 a.m. on Friday, March 15, according to Assistant Superintendent Leisa Winston. Physical notices were also posted on school sites on Friday, satisfying legal requirements for the noticing of special meetings.

A recording of the March 18 meeting can be reviewed at

Thurston students present proposal to Council for “Warm for the Winter Coat Drive” collection boxes

Thurston students pay it

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As a “World Kindness” act, Ashton Azadian, Thurston Middle School 8th grade Student President, and Cole Curtis, Thurston Middle School 8th grade student, came up with “Warm for the Winter Coat Drive” to collect donations of jackets, coats, and sweaters for the homeless in the community. They asked City Council for their approval on Tuesday to place their collection boxes in various city locations for people to donate items.

Thurston students at meeting

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Mayor Bob Whalen asked City Manager John Pietig how the collection boxes could be placed in certain city buildings. City Manager Pietig said the city’s typical policy was that the city did not allow solicitations. He said that on an occasional basis it would be possible, if the City Council would like to make an exception for the local students to place their collection boxes or flyers in certain city facilities. Councilmember Toni Iseman said there might be room at the Woman’s Club or on the sidewalk at Gelson’s Market for the Thurston students to place their collection boxes.

LBHS Golf drops tough losses to Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar in new Sunset Conference

By Sean Quigley, LBHS Varsity Golf Head Coach

This week, the LBHS Golf team had its first two golf matches within the Sunset Conference, which consists of two leagues – the Surf League and the Wave League. Laguna is in the Wave League and both teams we played are in the Surf League, so these are considered “cross league” matches. 

On Tuesday, March 19, we took on took Newport Harbor HS on the Mesa Linda course at Costa Mesa Country Club, par 35. Newport won the match 192-228. Our guys had some trouble putting on the sloping greens. Putting on Mesa Linda is always a challenge because you never really have a flat or straight put. However, we really should have scored better; it was just one of those matches when everyone seemed to have an off day. Individual scores included: Gus Morck - 42, Chase Gioffredi - 43, Jameson Roller - 45, Aiden Svenson - 45, Kyle Shaw - 53,  and Tai Diggins - 53.

LBHS Golf Chase

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Chase Gioffredi hitting a tee shot

On Wednesday, March 20, we played Corona del Mar HS on the front 9 holes at Aliso Viejo Country Club, par 35. Although we shot our best team score of the year at 211, Corona del Mar won the match 175-211. Guy Clauss from CdM earned match medalist honors, shooting a -2 score of 33. Low scores for Laguna came from Gus Morck and Chase Gioffredi, who both shot 40.

Our overall record is now 4-3. We are 0-2 in Sunset Conference cross league games. It was nice to see our guys continuing to show improvement; but we just didn’t have the firepower to compete with CdM. As a team, CdM shot even par, so it looks like they are becoming one of the top teams in the county. 

Laguna player scores included: Gus Morck - 40, Chase Gioffredi - 40, Aiden Svenson - 43, Tai Diggins - 43, Jameson Roller - 45, Cade St.Clair - 50, and Andrew Mundy - 56.

LBHS scores outstanding win over St. Margaret’s at Scholastic Surf Series Event #5

By Coaches Alisa Cairns and Scott Finn

We had another big win on Sunday at the final Scholastic Surf Series Event of the season at the Southside of Huntington Beach pier. We started out the day with team competition, up against St. Margaret’s. Everyone surfed really well as a team, and we took the overall win 53-31. Individual Champions were Kiko Nelsen and Cameron Taylor.

LBHS scores outstanding team

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Coach Alisa Cairns, Cameron Taylor, Liam McCue, Tyson Lockhart, and Kiko Nelsen

It was a total team effort with several of our surfers jumping in to surf multiple divisions. Our two women surfed in Shortboard and Longboard with great success. During the team portion, Kayla Coscino scored a perfect 10 out of 10 in Shortboard on a long right that she ripped from start to finish. She also did really well with big scores in Longboard as well but wasn’t able to stay around for the Individual competition. 

Freshman Cameron Taylor took over representing the women of Laguna and put in a super effort. She won the Shortboard and took 4th in the Longboard.

LBHS scores outstanding Kayla

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Photo by Ellen Nelsen

Kayla Coscino scored 10 out of 10 in Shortboard 

In the Men’s Shortboard and Longboard, Kiko Nelsen and Christian Schenk both did double duty, scoring lots of team points with Kiko competing very successfully, going on to the finals in both divisions in the Individuals. Kiko ended up stealing the show in Shortboard with the overall win and took a 3rd in the Longboard. 

LBHS scores outstanding Kiko

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Kiko Nelsen – overall win in shortboard, 3rd in longboard

Others surfers who did very well throughout the day were Tyson Lockhart taking a 3rd and Liam McCue taking a 4th, both in the Shortboard Final. Dylan Zoller did nicely in the Bodyboard and took 3rd overall. Meanwhile Gavin Campbell also performed well as did Holden Geary and Cooper Laws, who all helped with the team score points to win.

The weather was finally hot and sunny with really fun surf that stayed glassy all day. It was a great way to finish off the Scholastic Surf Series.

Nine LBUSD teams advance to state competition in Destination Imagination® Tournament

Nine teams representing Laguna Beach High School, Thurston Middle School, and Top of the World Elementary from Laguna Beach Unified School District qualified to move on to the Destination Imagination (DI) state competition on April 6 in Clovis. 

Destination Imagination is an international, educational program that enhances the growth and learning students receive in the classroom. Teams of students, ranging from third grade through university level, solve one of six open-ended challenges in the fields of STEM, fine arts, and service learning and present their solutions at tournaments.

Nine LBUSD number

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The Brilliant Boom Bam Bananas (10th grade) placed 1st in the technical category at the senior level

Five LBUSD teams competed in the Technical Challenge: On Target. Their challenge was to design and build an aircraft that takes off, flies, and lands; design the aircraft to deliver a team-created payload, and to create and present a story about one or more characters exploring a remote place. 

Three teams competed in the Improvisational Challenge (Heads Up). The challenge asked them to research historical figures found on coins from around the world, create and present an improvisational skit that includes the historical figures in a tale, integrate an event that has an impact on the tale, present the skit in two parts changing between comedy and tragedy, and present the skit in two styles, changing from verbal to nonverbal.

Nine LBUSD space

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No Parents Required also placed first place in the technical category at the middle level

Finally, one team competed in the Scientific Challenge (Medical Mystery) where they were asked to research the human body and medical conditions that affect the human body, create and present a story about a medical mystery that affects a human character, design and build a representation that shows the medical mystery and at least one symptom, and present an action or scene that is shown from two or more perspectives at the same time.

 “We are so proud of the hard work and creativity of our teams and I am thrilled that Destination Imagination has expanded with an all-time record of nine teams from the Laguna Beach Unified School District,” said Ina Inouye Wu, one of the Destination Imagination club advisors at Thurston Middle School. “DI definitely fulfills a need in our students for creative problem-solving,” she concluded.

LBHS Boys Golf team wins two out of three matches, improves to 4-1

Last Thursday, March 7, the LBHS Boys Golf team won a non-league match against Ocean View HS at Mile Square Golf Club. Senior Jameson Roller and junior Tai Diggins earned co-medalist honors with scores of 43. The win brought the team’s overall record to 3-0 on the season.

This week, the team played home and away matches against old league rival from the Orange Coast league, Estancia HS. The teams ended up splitting the matches, with each team winning on their home course.   

On Tuesday, March 12, the Breakers played at Mesa Verde Country Club in Costa Mesa, par 36. It is a very nice William Bell designed course with tough green complexes.   

Estancia won this match by the score of 242-226. LBHS only had two players who had seen this course before, and all the player’s scores were higher than normal on the tough course. Chase Gioffredi earned medalist honors for the match with a score of 42. Other player scores for this match were: Aiden Svenson - 46, Andrew Mundy - 51, Trent Ralston - 51, and Tai Diggins - 52.

Laguna Beach Mundy

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Sophomore Andrew Mundy hitting his tee shot on the #1 hole at Mesa Verde Country Club Tuesday

On Wednesday, March 13, the team played on Laguna’s home course at Aliso Viejo Country Club, par 35. The Breakers bounced back nicely, earning a win by the score of 215-224, bringing the team’s overall record for the season to 4-1. Senior co-captain Chase Gioffredi continued with his solid ball striking getting two birdies on the round to earn medalist honors with a two over par score of 37. 

Senior co-captain Gus Morck also played great with one birdie, shooting 40 in only his second round back after recovering from an injury. What really contributed to winning the match, however, were two good scores from the middle of the lineup – senior Jameson Roller with a 43 and junior Tai Diggins with a 45. Senior Kyle Shaw and junior Aiden Svenson both finished with scores of 50. 

“This was our best team performance of the year and a big win for us before moving into the tough Sunset Conference matches beginning next week,” said Coach Sean Quigley.

School board dumps bylaws at contentious meeting


A majority of the Laguna Beach Board of Education dumped bylaws at a testy meeting Tuesday night, including those that pertained to the annual election of officers and rotation of the presidency.

Recently re-elected board member Dee Perry was the lone opponent of the 4-1 vote that she believes was aimed at her for questioning why she had been blocked from assuming the presidency after serving two years as clerk, a longstanding board tradition, if not a mandate. Veteran board member Jan Vickers is serving her third consecutive term as president, a violation of the now defunct bylaws, according to Perry.

“I think not following our own bylaws is taking away confidence in the community, confidence in the board, confidence in the administration,” said Perry. “I am sad we are doing it this way.”

According to the discarded bylaws, the board was to hold an annual organizational meeting at which one of the members would be elected clerk and one president. After serving one year as clerk, “the elected member may serve one year as president of the Board,” the bylaw reads. “It is the intent that all board members rotate through the sequence of clerk and president.”

Perry was twice bypassed for the presidency.

“It’s a ‘may’ – you have to be nominated and you didn’t nominate yourself,” said board member Carol Normandin, also re-elected in November. “If you wanted to be president you should have nominated yourself.”

Normandin accused Perry of convincing the community that there is a conspiracy against her when in fact she is not equipped to be president, according to Normandin.

“If you want to be president, you have to know how to conduct a meeting,” said Normandin. “You don’t know how to conduct a meeting. You caused this ruckus.”

At this point, board member James Kelly called for a vote.

However, Perry requested time to respond to Normandin’s comments. She said she did not think she had to be nominated because the clerk always became president, which board member Peggy Wolff claimed was not always true.

Perry also said she had offered to serve as Co-President (a non-existent office) with Normandin, who was elected clerk at the December organizational meeting.

Prior to the vote, board watchdog Howard Hills called for a new election of the president, in one of his several appearances at the speaker’s podium.

Normandin’s husband, Ken Parker, said for the record that Hills should stop wasting the board’s time so his wife could get home a half-hour earlier after meetings.

Laguna Beach Republicans President Emil Monda posited that the board preferred expelling Perry, an option not available because she is a duly elected official.

“So you did the next best thing which is to marginalize her and ignore your own rules,” said Monda.

“You are about to take a vote that is going to deny due process in handling the presidency because you don’t like someone.”

Monda and Hills were the only members from the public that spoke in support of Perry.

However, Perry stated to the board that she had heard from about 100 people that they are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation.

The District’s attorney said only certain anonymous complaints can be added to the public record and remain anonymous.

Perry said she was approached by many folks who assumed she had been elected president at the December organizational meeting and had to explain to them that the board was not following the bylaws and rotating the terms of the clerk and president so that each member would have a chance.

“The upset is not about me being president; it is about the board not following the bylaws,” said Perry.

LBUSD honors LBHS Girls Water Polo team – CIF Division 1 Champions

LBHS girls team

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Photo courtesy of LBUSD

At the March 12 School Board Meeting, the LBUSD Board of Education recognized the athletic excellence of the Laguna Beach High School Girls Water Polo team. The team finished the CIF Southern Section season with a 29-1 record, beating Corona del Mar for the CIF-SS Division 1 girls water polo championship.

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach will host 19th Annual Art of Giving Gala at the Montage

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is proud to present its 19th Annual Art of Giving Gala, “Under the Sea,” on Saturday, May 11, at Montage Laguna Beach. This is an event you will not want to miss. It is a chance for every female to express her inner Mermaid, and every guy to get just as decked out as the ladies.

Guests will start the evening on the Montage lawn with tasty morsels and signature cocktails. The evening will continue with an elegant dinner and rousing live auction followed by dancing to some live music. 

Boys and Girls hats

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Last year’s derby-themed gala was a major success

The event will raise funds to help the Club reach more young people and to instill integrity, compassion, and respect in them. This promises to be the event of the year, and a chance to generously support the Club and its 4,000 youth and families. 

Proceeds raised at the 19th annual Art of Giving Gala go directly towards empowering children of all ages to reach their full potential, no matter their financial situation. So mark your calendars and join the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach for a good time at the 19th Annual Art of Giving Gala. 

Table sponsorships are available. For more information about the Gala, contact Michelle Fortezzo at (949) 715-7584, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the Club website at

LBHS Drama and Park Avenue Players present “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

Laguna Beach High School Drama and Park Avenue Players return to the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre on March 15 at 2:30 p.m. with “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” 

The musical is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, 11 brothers, and the coat of many colors. The show will continue on March 16, 22, and 23 at 7 p.m. 

The musical follows preferred son Joseph who, after being sold into slavery by his brothers, ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the amorous advances of Potiphar’s wife. 

LBHS Drama school

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Join LBHS Drama and Park Avenue Players for opening night on March 15

While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled, Elvis-inspired, Pharaoh. Joseph’s solution to Egypt’s famine elevates him to Pharaoh’s right-hand man and reunites him with his family.

The company of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” includes more than 50 Laguna Beach High School student cast and crew members and 12 students from El Morro Elementary, Top of the World Elementary, and Thurston Middle School in the children’s choir. 

The musical is directed and choreographed by guest artist Paul Nygro. A veteran performer, Nygro has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in productions across the globe. His credits as a producer, director, choreographer, and actor span a range of mediums, including theatre, film, and television.

“Paul’s (Nygro) energy is infectious. He dives into projects with passion, commitment, and creativity,” said Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School Drama Teacher and Director, Alexis Karol. “We are grateful that amidst his many professional commitments in Los Angeles he is willing to share his talent and skill with our Laguna Beach High School students,” she concluded. 

Tickets are on sale now at Tickets are $12 for students, $17 for adults, and $22 for premium. 

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave.

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