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Thurston Middle School is a 4CLE school, preparing its students with 21st century competencies in order to be college and career ready.

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At the August 27 special meeting of the Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) Board of Education, the board took action to approve the appointment of Joseph Vidal as Principal of Thurston Middle School (TMS), start date yet to be determined. Mr. Vidal replaces Jennifer Salberg, who resigned in July 2020. He was selected from a candidate pool in a competitive process that included input and participation from the TMS staff and community. 

Mr. Vidal has more than 20 years of experience in school and district administration, currently serving as Senior Director for Cupertino Union School District. He holds a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership and a Master of Science in Special Education from the California State University system.  He also served as an Assistant Principal at Thurston from 2013 to 2015.

“Mr. Vidal distinguished himself as the best candidate for this position, demonstrating his instructional leadership and innovation throughout the interview and screening process,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jason Viloria. “I am excited to welcome him back to the Laguna Beach Unified School District at Thurston Middle School where I am confident he will help the students, teachers, staff, and community thrive,” he concluded. 

Mr. Vidal was one of 10 candidates selected from the pool of applicants to participate in the initial interview process. Six candidates were selected to move forward to the next round and were interviewed separately by two stakeholder panels consisting of parents, teachers, support staff, and administrators. From that group of candidates, three were selected to move on to the final interview panel with the Superintendent and other District administrators. 

“It is with great honor and excitement that I rejoin Thurston Middle School and the Laguna Beach community. As I begin my transition, I am deeply committed to maintaining Thurston's history of excellence and ensuring a rigorous learning environment that fosters a sense of belonging, promotes intellectual growth, and inspires collaboration,” said Mr. Vidal. “I look forward to listening, learning, and partnering with all stakeholders to enhance the educational opportunities for students and staff alike,” he concluded.  

The District will host a meet and greet event for the TMS community to meet Mr. Vidal once his start date is determined. The nature of the event, whether virtual or in-person, will be determined by state guidelines for large gatherings related to COVID-19.  

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The Laguna Beach Early Learning Community Task Force will host a special screening event on Monday, February 10, for No Small Matter, the first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force for change in America today: early childhood education.  

Read More about NO SMALL MATTER

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