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New Murrieta School Board Member Takes Office

As the second-highest vote-getter behind incumbent Paul Diffley, retired teacher Barbara Muir unseated longtime Murrieta school board member Margi Wray.

Barbara Muir was sworn in to office Thursday as the newest member of the Murrieta Valley Unified School District Board of Education

Muir, a retired teacher of 20 years—the last 10 of which she spent at Murrieta Valley High School—was elected Nov. 6. As the second-highest vote-getter behind incumbent Paul Diffley, Muir unseated longtime board member Margi Wray.

"I'm glad to be here...I'm looking forward to getting to know all the campuses," said Muir, noting she had already visited one of the middle schools and was impressed by the learning going on. She thanked district administrators and fellow board members for their warm welcomes.

The board also elected new officers. Kris Thomasian will serve as president for 2013, taking over for Diffley who led the board for two years. Ken Dickson, who along with Diffley was re-elected in November, will serve as clerk of the board.

Superintendent Pat Kelley thanked Diffley for his service as president of the board for two years.

"I am sorry that your two years were framed by very tough economic times," Kelley said. "This has been a long downturn in the economy...so Kris let's give it a good shot on this go around."

Kelley, who has been serving as superintendent since October when Stan Scheer took a job in Colorado, said he has been trying to get the same message across as he visits all the school sites. He said he is seeing a lot of expertise in spite of the difficult financial times for state education funding.

Having faced budget shortfalls for the last several years, the passage of Prop. 30 in November allowed the district to restore pay cuts districtwide.

"These last five years have been framed by economic downturn (which has) sadly framed many of our conversations," Kelley said. "While we have not exited those challenges, we are breathing a sigh of relief. It is finally time to center our conversation on student learning and the opportunities for students in this district."

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