EUHS teacher takes top seat at Sequoia Union

By Reggie Ellis

After 28 years of teaching at Exeter Union High School, Larry Lakey has decided to try his hand at administration.

Last week Lakey was named the new superintendent of the Sequoia Union School District, an elementary district in Lemoncove east of Exeter.

"I'm looking forward to the change," Lakey said. "It was an honor to teach at the high school and it is an equal honor to take over at Sequoia Union."

Lakey, who moved to Mehrten Valley from Visalia 10 years ago, said living in the district should make him more approachable to teachers, staff and parents. Also, Lakey said he knows many of the parents because he taught their children after the graduated from the kindergarten through eighth grade school.

"It's different kids, different teachers and different challenges," Lakey said. "What works at the high school may not necessarily work here. Discipline is very different for elementary than for high school. But I like working with kids regardless of their age."

Lakey said his priorities at Sequoia Union include continuing to improve test scores, make sure the school's grounds are kept up and improving water quality at the school. Lakey said the school district has excellent students, as this year's co-valedictorian and co-salutatorian for EUHS both attended Sequoia Union. "This has always been a good school with good kids," he said.

He said like any school, he must try to close the gap between students of different socio-economic levels based on nationwide standards. As for the water issues, Lakey said the school has struggled with nitrates, a recurring problem on the east side of the county.

"I'm not one to sit behind a desk; I never have been," he said. "If there are things that need to be taken care of, Iet's go and get them done."

The long-time teacher has never been one to look at his profession as a job. He told his high school students that they should never get a job, but rather have a passion for something.

"If you have a job you have to get up every day and work," he said. "I don't look at education as a job. This is something I truly enjoy doing."

Lakey and his wife Patty have three grown children - Heather, 29, Carrie, 25 and Bret, 23. During his 28 years at EUHS, Lakey said he has taught ag and work experience, been a counselor/dean and coached softball. He said he will miss talking with high school graduates and watching them grow up. "When you work somewhere for 28 years it is exciting and scary to move onto something else," he said. "I have a lot of work ahead of me but I'm going to do whatever is right for the kids. Education is always a learning process for everyone involved."

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