Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Don Austin
Rita Moyers, Executive Secretary to the Superintendent of Schools
Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Superintendent Don Austin is a lifelong educator who has dedicated his entire career to ensuring all students possess the skills and knowledge they need to lead successful lives. He began serving the 11,700-student school system Aug. 11, 2014.
A California native, Dr. Austin grew up south of San Diego in Chula Vista. He developed a strong work ethic and an appreciation for the importance of teamwork during his years as a football player and team captain at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas.
Early in his teaching career, Dr. Austin quickly emerged as a natural leader. At age 30, he was chosen to be the principal of La Sierra High School in Riverside, California, where nine of his former staff members eventually became principals. During his six-year tenure at the 3,000-student school, Advanced Placement course enrollment grew by more than 300 percent. In addition, La Sierra High School’s Academic Performance Index score (California’s former school ranking system) increased by 125 points.
As principal of Laguna Beach High School, Dr. Austin and his staff earned National Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished School recognitions. Laguna Beach High School also was one of only two Orange County school districts to make the Advanced Placement District Honor Roll.
During the 11 years Dr. Austin was a high school principal, he also earned his master’s degree and doctorate in education from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California.
When Dr. Austin became assistant superintendent of educational services for Huntington Beach Unified High School District in 2011, he continued to champion increasing access to college prep courses for students across all ethnic and socio-economic subgroups. He was instrumental in the 16,000-student district’s transition to California’s new school funding formula, which calls for high levels of community and staff involvement in education budget decisions. Dr. Austin also led the district’s implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
A lifelong teacher and mentor, Dr. Austin is a doctoral adviser at California State University-Long Beach and an instructor at University of California, Irvine. His university work keeps Dr. Austin current with the latest education research and allowed him to develop relationships between CSU-Long Beach and the Huntington Beach Unified High School District.
Described by colleagues as an honest communicator and an effective listener, Dr. Austin is dedicated to empowering educators to better the lives of all children. As the father of two high school students and a college student, he understands that Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified’s parents have high expectations of their children’s schools.
Dr. Austin is eager to work collaboratively with staff, parents, and community members to drive the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District and its students to even greater levels of achievement.