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Ripon Unified serves up a good-bye

Picnic honors former Superintendent Johnson

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Ripon Unified serves up a good-bye

Trustee Ernie Tyhurst cooks up 50 hot dogs and 75 hamburgers at the district-wide staff event.


POSTED August 12, 2013 1:29 a.m.

Louise Johnson was back in Ripon.

Up until July, she served as superintendent of the Ripon Unified School District for five years. Johnson was there for good times and tough times, and recently helped out with the successful Measure G campaign that will make possible the modernizing of Weston School and, later, Colony Oak School.

“It was not an easy decision,” Johnson said of her decision to take the superintendent of schools post at the Nevada Union High School District.

Family was one of her top reasons for moving. “We’re still settling in,” she said at Tuesday’s RUSD picnic at Stouffer Park.

Johnson was in Ripon Tuesday for a combination good luck picnic for her and a welcome picnic for new Ripon Unified staff members.

Johnson’s first day at her new job in Grass Valley was July 22. Her challenge now includes dealing with five schools including two comprehensive high schools – Nevada Union and Bear River.

Coming back to Ripon was her chance to say her goodbyes.

“I really appreciated the (RUSD) school board for making this possible,” Johnson said.

She also praised William “Bill” Draa, who is serving as the interim superintendent for the time being.

“Bill’s skill set is what the district needs now,” said Johnson.

Draa is a year removed from retiring from the Banta School District. But he was responsible for spearheading the planning for the River Island Charter School and Technology Academy set to open this week.

RUSD is in the planning process of remodeling Weston.

Trustee Ernie Tyhurst, meanwhile, not only donated 50 hot dogs and 75 hamburger patties, but also cooked them at the park’s Lower Gazebo. Other district folks brought side dishes to share for the pot luck.

The picnic, in addition, was a meet-and-greet event to welcome newcomers such as Marlon Gayle and Dante Alvarez, who are the new principals at Colony Oak and Ripona, respectively.

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