Hundreds packed a banquet hall at the Westlake Hilton Sunday at a farewell celebration honoring outgoing Superintendent Dr. Donald M. Zimring for his 37 years of dedicated service.
Part of the evening's ticket proceeds went to the Donald Zimring Public Service Scholarship.
A superintendent for five years, Zimring began his career with the district in 1975 as a history teacher at He was eventually promoted to principal, deputy superintendent and finally superintendent in July 2007.
Zimring was credited with taking the district to new heights by more than two dozen guest speakers, including Sen. Fran Pavley, the mayors of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills and Westlake Village and LVUSD principals, who serenaded him with a personalized rendition of Frank Sinatra's "My Way."
"Thank you for being so fiercely protective of schools in the district and for always putting kids first," said Hidden Hills Mayor Pro Tem Steve Freedland in a sentiment echoed by many.
The evening also included a surpise appearance by Tom Sherak, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who bestowed upon Zimring an honorary Oscar.
Although Zimring was presented many gifts throughout the evening–from artworks handcrafted by students to a clock from Calabasas High graduate of 1999, Jonathon Barsook–he said that his real gift was to work for 37 years in the school district.
“It's my turn to give back, which is why I wanted to establish this scholarship," Zimring said in an emotionally-charged closing speech. "The leadership team coming up is an extraordinary team; you have to let them lead."
Zimring is departing because the district's board of education voted late last year to not renew his contract.
He will be replaced by Deputy Superintendent Dan Stepanosky and will move on to a new position in the Bay area as head of the private Brandeis Hillel Day School.
“We are excited but it's going to be quite different,” said Caroline Zimring, Zimring's wife and school teacher at Sunkist Elementary in Port Hueneme, calling the LVUSD a second family.