Calderon tapped to lead SSDA
March 25, 2024
Yuri Calderon, chief business officer and legal counsel of Cold Springs Elementary School District in Santa Barbara has been appointed as the new executive director of the Small School Districts’ Association.
“This position aligns with my deep commitment to educational advocacy and support for small school districts,” Calderon said. “I am committed to supporting superintendents across California to ensure that they are effective advocates for children.”
Calderon has been an ACSA member for five years and serves as the ACSA Region 13 Vice President for Legislative Action. He has been a voice for small school districts during his time as a region VPLA, offering lawmakers an inside look at the unique challenges small school districts face.
“One of the most pressing issues is the overwhelming number of mandates issued by the state, covering a wide array of administrative, educational and compliance areas,” he said. “Perhaps well-intentioned, these mandates often come with extensive reporting, implementation and monitoring requirements. For small school districts, where administrative staff is typically lean, the burden of complying with these numerous mandates is disproportionately heavy.”
Amy Alzina, superintendent of Cold Springs Elementary School District, noted Calderon’s accomplishments in a letter to parents and community members. They include annual balanced budgets, overseeing the construction of a commercial kitchen and spearheading the development of a breakfast and lunch program for students. Additionally, he was instrumental in creating a new STEAM and Art Laboratory Building that is set to open this summer.
“We are profoundly grateful for Yuri’s dedication, core values and servant’s heart,” Alzina said. “His contributions have significantly impacted our district and we are excited to see him bring his expertise to a larger stage.”
SSDA was founded 40 years ago to advocate for California’s smaller districts with enrollment under 5,000 students. Today, the organization represents more than 350 small districts. The executive director is responsible for legislative advocacy, collaboration and practical programs to achieve impactful results for students.
“Yuri’s experience in confronting the challenges faced by our small school districts will pay dividends for our friends at SSDA,” said Edgar Zazueta, ACSA executive director. “I’m looking forward to working with him as we continue to support California public school students.”
Calderon believes the collaboration between ACSA and SSDA will continue to address leadership development, student achievement and equitable access to educational resources.
“We’ve formed a dynamic partnership and have started to share resources, advocating jointly for policy reforms and crafting professional development initiatives specifically designed for the nuances of small schools,” Calderon said. “Such a partnership not only amplifies the strengths of each organization but also fosters a united front to address the broader challenges facing California’s education system.”
Yuri Calderon