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August 23, 2023

Laguna Beach schools will be a little greener this school year with a new teaching position to guide environmental education districtwide

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) will introduce a new teaching position this school year to lead the district’s efforts in integrating environmental literacy education across all disciplines. LBUSD today announced that Thurston Middle School Science Teacher Gloria Harwood will be the district’s new Coordinator of Environmental Literacy and will assume her new role in the 2023-24 school year.   

Harwood was awarded a Master of Science in Environmental Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a Minor in Natural Science, and a Single-Subject Teaching Credential in Science from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). She is currently enrolled in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Program at CSUF, focused on utilizing GIS technology to capture, analyze, and visualize geospatial data to gain insights into spatial patterns and relationships. 

“I am inspired by LBUSD's dedication to environmental literacy and sustainability and its mission to cultivate a generation of environmentally conscious leaders,” said Harwood. “I am excited to leverage my expertise in curriculum development, instructional leadership, environmental policy, and advocacy to develop a comprehensive and impactful environmental literacy program to create engaging and inclusive learning experiences that empower students to become environmental stewards,” she concluded. 

The Coordinator of Environmental Literacy will collaborate with the Director of Facilities and Sustainability to implement LBUSD’s Sustainability Plan and California’s Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&Cs) across all schools to help students understand and experience the interconnectedness of people and place.

“Students, teachers, and schools are essential in catalyzing innovative solutions needed to meet the climate emergency at this moment. With LBUSD investing in a dedicated coordinator for environmental literacy, this will provide schools with districtwide support to address the urgency of the climate crisis in culturally relevant ways for and with the Laguna Beach community,” said Executive Director of the UC-CSU Environmental and Climate Change Literacy Projects (ECCLPs) Kelley Lê, Ed.D. “ECCLPs is looking forward to partnering with LBUSD's coordinator to help advance PK-12 climate and environmental literacy and action,” she concluded. 

Every school in LBUSD has received a stipend to establish a Green Team in support of the district’s goal of reducing carbon emissions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The teams will serve as a conduit for districtwide sustainability work, working with Ms. Harwood to support recycling and composting programs, water consumption, food waste, energy conservation, and environmental stewardship. 

“Environmental literacy provides students with the building blocks to understand the interconnectedness of the world around them and the ripple effect of their actions on the ecosystems they live in,” said LBUSD Superintendent Jason Viloria, Ed.D. “It empowers students to be stewards of the Earth and shape a more sustainable future,” he concluded. 

The coordinator is a teaching position and will support instructional and operational sustainability work in LBUSD, partnering with local government, environmental education providers, and community-based organizations to enhance the district’s environmental literacy and sustainability practices. Learn more about LBUSD’s sustainability goals at

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