A Wonderful Journey

A Wonderful Journey

By Henry Castaniada, Former Superintendent of Soquel Unified Elementary School District

Castaniada_IMG_1398 Wonderful Journey Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comAs I near my retirement this month, I am taking a moment to reflect upon the wonderful journey I have enjoyed during the past forty years in public education.

I have been very fortunate to work with exceptional educators, terrific students, inspiriting community leaders and outstanding parents. Having the opportunity to work in six excellent school districts I was able to observe some of the finest programs that exist in public education. Students having opportunities to explore cutting edge technology and engaged education beyond the classroom is essential in preparing all students in either a pathway for a job skills or college. It is exciting to be part of an innovative movement that is transforming our public education today.

Castaniada_IMAG0747 Wonderful Journey Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comMr. Scott Turnbull, who will exceed me, as Superintendent will have the golden opportunity to continue to elevate Soquel Union Elementary School District. I am confident that Superintendent Scott Turnbull will expand upon the exciting programs that exist today and elevate student achievement for all students.

Today, we have established district wide programs that will enable our students to gain the necessary knowledge to be successful in a very competitive world. Within the past three years we have transformed our curriculum programs and significantly increased student and teacher access to modern technology. In many of our classes, students are exploring various topics of interest far beyond the typical classroom curriculum. The major difference that is occurring with this exploration is in the area of access to technology and teacher training.

Castaniada_IMG_1076 Wonderful Journey Times Publishing Group Inc tpgonlinedaily.comA special thank you goes out to our Board of Trustees, present and former, the numerous joint partnerships that we have built throughout our county, and the tremendous support we have received from Superintendent Michael Watkins and Assistant Superintendent Mary Anne James from our County Office of Education. These entities have enabled us to transform our District and to address very complex educational issues for the past five years. We are also fortunate in Soquel Union Elementary School District to have opportunities to work with exceptional individuals in our surrounding communities.

I will truly miss the joy of my weekly classroom visits. Having the opportunity to interact with children is an exceptional educational gift of hope. During my classroom visits I often created my monthly article by the wonderful events that are occurring throughout our district. I thank you again for the opportunity that was given to me and I will always be humbled to have been selected as Superintendent of Soquel Union Elementary School District.

I leave you with a powerful passage from Ralph Waldo Emerson that was given to me in 1998:


To laugh often and much
To win the respect of Intelligent people and
The affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of
Honest critics and endure
The betrayal of false friends;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit Better, whether by a
Healthy child, a garden
Patch or a redeemed social
Condition; to know even one
Life has breathed easier
Because you have lived.
That is to have succeeded.
I’m off to another fulfilling journey.

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