School board celebrates Executive Director of Technology Candy Smet’s retirement after 28 years

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met for their regularly scheduled trustee meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.

The AUSD recognized three of their employees near the beginning of the meeting. Learning Center Teacher Nate Ballinger was recognized for the District Core Value of Excellence at San Benito Elementary School. Tradesworker and Carpenter Glen Penland was also recognized for the District Core Value of Excellence. Penland supervises the district’s bus hub in the afternoons and was honored for his fast thinking and his ability to work with the bus drivers during the recent lockdown that happened at the AHS.

“We are celebrating tonight the amazing career of Candy Smet, our executive director of technology. Candy’s a tremendous leader who has done so much to benefit the students and staff of our school district, and we really appreciate all your years of service,” said Superintendent Tom Butler as he introduced the third recognition of the night. “Initially, Candy began her career in San Luis Coastal, and we snatched her up 28 years ago, in 1995, and she became our first ever director of technology. Not only did she come on at that time to lead a department that we didn’t have before. There was no department before that. She started it. Got it going and throughout this entire time modeled the core values that you’re hearing about from our employee success that we just recognized.”


Smet, along with her staff, were the ones who built the AUSD’s network from scratch in the 1990s. They even pulled wires through walls to make sure that the district was digitized. She also built an email system for the district in 1995, just to name a few of her accomplishments.

“What a career she’s had. Not only is she a giant in the field of technology, but even better yet, she has a huge work ethic and tremendous leadership,” Butler concluded. “It is a pleasure to be able to celebrate your career. Thanks for all you’ve done to benefit our entire school district and our community. Congratulations, Candy.”

The principal of Monterey Road Elementary, Jennifer Isbell, gave a presentation to the trustee board. She stated that over 64 percent of their students met or exceeded standards in the ELA (English/Language Arts), and almost 60 percent of students met or exceeded standards in math. 

Both the Minutes from the Oct. 17 meeting and the Consent Agenda passed unanimously.

The trustee board passed Resolution #09-23-24, Proclaiming Dec. 2 as Atascadero Unified School District Day of the Special Educator. The resolution was approved unanimously by the board, and Trustee Vy Pierce read it aloud.

The board was also presented with a Board of Trustee Study Session. 

“This would be a general study session provided by Dale Scott; Dale Scott is president of his company and is a financial advisor to school districts in California and community colleges,” Pierce said. “This is an informational session only. You would get to learn about school facility’s bonds and ways that those could be structured to support school district construction and maintenance facilities in our school district.”

They moved forward with the Study Session, which will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 4:30 p.m.

The new assistant director of support services, Falicia Ulibarri, gave the board a Food Service Update for the School Year 2023-2024. This was an information-only presentation. 

“I have the privilege of leading two amazing departments: transportation and food services,” stated Ulibarri.

In her presentation, Ulibarri brought up the fact that there is a now a Farm to School program in place in the district where the school district works with local farmers to provide fresh produce to our students. 

“So it’s linking the farmers directly to the school districts as well as hands-on education and school gardens and things like that,” she added.

She also stated that there is an element to the program where students meet the farmers that are providing food to their school. Windrose Farms was the first farm to participate, and she is excited to get more farmers on board in the future.

The next regularly scheduled AUSD school board meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m.