Editor's Note: On July 1, and became the new Superintendent of Schools at Santa Clara County's Office of Education. Here is his message.
I am honored and privileged to join the Santa Clara Office of Education and assume the role of County Superintendent of Schools.
I was strongly drawn to this leadership role by the opportunity to work closely and collaboratively with a high-performing and cohesive Board of Education; 31 dedicated superintendents throughout the county and their talented teams of educators; the skilled educators and experts on the staff of the COE; and the increasingly involved high technology sector and other private entities in the community who want to leverage innovation and resources to help eliminate the academic achievement gap.
In studying the educational climate of the region, and the work of the COE, I was attracted by the ambitious and aggressive agenda in SJ/SV 2020. If the achievement gap cannot be eliminated in the Silicon Valley of California, then it can't be eliminated—and that is something I simply refuse to believe. But it won't be easy. It will require resolve, resilience, and the reengineering of how we educate our children. It will require vision, leadership and courageous conversations aimed at the efficacy of current pedagogy and practices in our schools and in our classrooms.
In articulating a vision for the COE, it will first be critical to understand the context of the work, including the interests and the expected outcomes from the County Board of Education and from all entities supported and served.
It is important to recognize that this vision cannot be that of a single individual. A compelling vision requires a consensus of conviction and commitment—both from educators and from the community—about our expectations for our schools, and about our hopes for the future of our children.
My leadership style is collaborative and inclusive. As one who strongly believes that ongoing, two-way, communication in a climate and culture of mutual respect is vital to this work, I value and will solicit the interests, opinions and ideas of all stakeholders.
As we prepare for the upcoming school year, I look forward to meeting and speaking with as many of those stakeholders as possible. We cannot succeed without the support of our community—especially the higher education, corporate and high-technology sectors, which rely on our school districts to provide a capable work force to sustain our place as a world leader, and to protect our economic prosperity.
With the dedication, commitment, expertise and unyielding resolve of team members throughout the COE and the county, we can partner with each of the 31 districts and our charter schools to ensure that all students graduate ready for college and careers.
I look forward to forming those partnerships, and to accomplishing great things together.