Schmidt Takes Helm at Harbor View

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The new ‘captain of the crew’ for the Harbor View Elementary School Vikings arrived on campus this week.

Todd Schmidt started his duties as the new principal bright and early on Monday morning at the Flag Deck ceremony.

In his first Principal’s Message, Schmidt said he is “honored and humbled” to have been chosen as the next principal for Harbor View and that a “Meet the Principal” night would be scheduled soon.

Schmidt replaces longtime local educator, Charlene Metoyer, after she announced her plans to retire in August.

“I know you will support your new ‘Captain of the Crew’ and Harbor View will continue to lead the rest!” Metoyer wrote in an email letter to the Harbor View community announcing her plans. “I will miss you more than you know. Please continue to ‘Learn a lot and ask really good questions.’”

Metoyer’s letter explained that she decided to retire in order to focus on caring for her father full-time. Metoyer served as an educator and administrator for 28 years, 24 of those years have been at Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

Mary Manos, former principal at Andersen Elementary School, temporarily stepped in as interim principal to “help ensure a seamless start of the new school year,” according to a district statement from August.

The district immediately began the recruitment process and started seeking input from the community about the qualities and attributes they wanted to see in the next Harbor View principal. A community forum was held and an online survey was available for staff, parents and community members. The district held interviews conducted by panels comprised of district, employee, and parent representatives from Harbor View.

“One of the things that impressed me most was the sense of pride that the parents, teachers, and staff members had in their school,” Schmidt wrote in his message after he attended one of the community input forums.

The energy, enthusiasm, and dedication was clearly evident, he said, as people shared not only the qualities they were looking for in a new principal, but also the areas they felt were most important to be addressed.

Schmidt was officially appointed at the Oct. 9 board meeting.

“We believe Mr. Schmidt is a solid match and will continue to carry forward the successes created by the Harbor View staff, students and community,” reads a Newport-Mesa Unified School District statement.

Before coming to Harbor View, Schmidt served two years as assistant principal for Costa Mesa High School.

He has been an educator for 15 years, according to a district statement, and has taught every grade level between 4th to 12th. Schmidt also taught 4th and 5th grade in Taiwan for two years.

“It was my ultimate goal to make the student feel as if he or she were an important contributing member to the classroom community,” Schmidt said of his experience.

“Todd is an experienced administrator who always displays strong energy, exceptional honesty, and a clear understanding of the teaching and educational process,” said CMHS principal Dr. Phil D’Agostino.

In honor of the beginning of a new chapter, Schmidt said he wanted to start his own tradition for the school. Instead of Metoyer’s signature saying of “Learn a lot and ask really good questions,”  which she commonly said at the end of announcements, he has launched his own Viking-inspired motto, “Let’s make learning our adventure!”

The district will immediately begin the process to find a replacement for assistant principal at Costa Mesa High School. 

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