Senior Staff Writer
The South Pasadena Unified School District has a new face this year: Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Ms Christiane Gervais. She joined the SPUSD staff in early August after working with Beverly Hills and San Gabriel Unified School Districts, as both an administrator and teacher.
As part of her administrative role in San Gabriel, Gervais directed a new teacher mentoring program for those joining districts in the area, including new additions to South Pasadena. Her experience with SPUSD employees impressed her and when a spot was available within the district office, she “just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.”
“Assessment is part of it [the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services job], but I think assessment is directly linked to instruction,” Gervais said. “It’s a way to judge how students are progressing in their learning… This job is about the big picture, what are our goals and how do we achieve them?”
Gervais has already set her sights on some issues within South Pasadena schools after only two months on the job. Her main goal this year is to set up three separate sub-groups of district officials to handle issues that schools face today.
With the addition of Chromebooks in elementary classrooms, Gervais wants to form a team to work on K-12 technology sequences and cyber safety. She hopes to establish another committee to advise the Common Core Assessment to ensure that students are staying on track with the educational standards. Gervais also wants to create a larger focus on arts education throughout the district and through all grade levels.
Gervais taught AP Literature before going into administration, and although she loves teaching and interacting with students, she realized that she had the potential to make bigger difference within the district office.
“The idea that you can make that much of a difference, it’s just an amazing job.” Gervais said when asked about her teaching career. “And now that I do it differently, I am able to impact students’ lives in different ways. But the students are always at the forefront of my mind.”