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Huntington Beach Union Schools Name New Chief

July 24, 1996|ENRIQUE LAVIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

HUNTINGTON BEACH — A superintendent with a "strong student-centered philosophy" from a San Bernardino County school district Tuesday was named head of schools for the Huntington Beach Union High School District.

Ron Bennett, 53, superintendent of the Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District, will replace David Hagen, 51, who resigned in May to follow his wife to her new job in Pennsylvania.

Bennett, who lives in Coto de Caza, won the unanimous approval of the trustees after a three-month nationwide search. Bennett will be paid $125,000 a year, $20,000 more than his predecessor.

"Bennett has the educational philosophy that is perfect for this district," said Board President Bonnie Castrey. "He is a proven, experienced visionary leader."

Bennett taught for seven years in Cypress, then moved to the Pomona Unified School District, where he rose to become a principal, eventually serving at three schools, including the district's high school. Bennett also was assistant superintendent of the Fullerton Unified School District for five years.

Hagen, who became superintendent in 1991, helped the district downsize as student enrollment dropped from 24,000 to 13,000.

Hagen's wife, Ronee, already has begun her job as executive vice president of Alumax Inc., an aluminum manufacturer.

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