New superintendent takes helm of Cayucos Elementary School District

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July 13, 2022

Jen Gaviola and her family

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A new superintendent has taken over the Cayucos Elementary School District following the departure of the district’s former top official, who had become the source of the controversy.

The Cayucos Elementary School Board has hired Jen Gaviola as its new superintendent. Gaviola began working as a superintendent earlier this month.

For the past seven years, Gaviola has worked for the Paso Robles Unified School District, according to a letter she wrote to Cayucos’ parents. Most recently, she served as the Paso Robles District Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources.

“I love being a public educator,” Gaviola wrote in a self-introduction. “I am an advocate for all students, a lifelong learner, a fair and kind leader, a mother and a wife.”

The new superintendent says she looks forward to meeting each employee in face-to-face meetings.

Gaviola replaces Scott Smith, who has worn many hats over the past four years. Prior to the 2019-20 school year, Smith served as superintendent of Cayucos’ only elementary school. In 2019-20, Smith served in the dual role of Superintendent of Cayucos Elementary and Coast Unified.

In January 2022, the boards of both school districts voted to give Smith a 10% raise, bringing his salary to $220,085 per year, plus benefits. His salary was divided equally between the two districts.

Cayucos community members accused Smith of bullying and harassing people who wore masks at school and before council meetings. Public commentators have also spoken out against Smith’s salary increase and the shared-services agreement between the two school districts.

In February, Smith announced his intention to retire from Cayucos Elementary after the end of the 2021-2022 school year. At the time, he remained silent about his plans for Coast Unified.

Then in March, the Coast Unified board voted to award Smith a two-year contract at $190,620 per year, plus benefits.

The Tribune reports that Gaviola will receive a base salary of $162,000 from Cayucos Elementary, with annual raises of 3.5%.

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