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Longtime Top of the World principal retires from district

Ron La Motte leaves Laguna Beach for position with Concordia University.

February 27, 2014|By Bryce Alderton
  • Ron La Motte, who has been principal at Top of the World Elementary School for the past 13 years, is retiring in June to become Concordia University’s master’s of education program director for the Orange County region.
Ron La Motte, who has been principal at Top of the World… (Laguna Beach Unified…)

Ron La Motte, Top of the World Elementary School principal and longtime Laguna Beach school district administrator, will retire from the district at the end of the school year.

Later this year, La Motte, who has led the elementary school for 13 years, will tackle a new full-time endeavor as director of Concordia's masters of education program.

"I'm thrilled to still have the time and energy to devote to something different," La Motte said in a phone interview.

La Motte started his career with the Laguna Beach Unified School District as Thurston Middle School's assistant principal in 1992, according to a district news release. Four years later, La Motte, 61, was promoted to principal at Thurston. He was named principal at Top of the World in 2001.

"Working in Laguna Beach for the past 21 years has been more than a job or career. It has been an experience of becoming part of a loving, caring community," La Motte said in the release.

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"I have been privileged to work with some of the most outstanding administrative leaders in the state of California, being a team member of the most nurturing professional teachers ever assembled, partnering with the most wonderful supportive parent community one could ever imagine, and touching the lives of so many incredibly talented, focused and motivated students a principal could ever ask for."

La Motte was Laguna Beach Unified's lead administrator in bringing Response to Intervention (RTI) programs, designed to help struggling students, to all four district schools.

The Orange County Department of Education hired La Motte to train teachers and administrators in RTI.

La Motte also was instrumental in the district's transition to the Common Core State Standards. He developed teachers and school leaders as an adjunct instructor at Chapman University and Concordia University.

La Motte doesn't get a lot of downtime. His last day at Top of the World will be June 30 and he will start at Concordia July 1.

School board clerk Ketta Brown praised La Motte for creating a welcoming atmosphere.

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