News Briefs | FYI
March 14, 2022
SDUSD selects Jackson as next district superintendent
The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education has voted unanimously to hire Lamont Jackson as superintendent of the second-largest district in the state. The board is set to ratify his contract on March 22.
A San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego Unified schools, Jackson began his career in the district as a teaching assistant, and has served as a teacher, coach, principal, human resources chief, area superintendent and mostly recently as interim superintendent.
“San Diego Unified has defined so much of my life as a student and educator. It is my privilege to accept the position of superintendent, and to give back to the community that has given so much to me,” Jackson said.
The board voted to hire Jackson March 7 following a year-long superintendent search process that included robust public engagement and oversight by a 48-member advisory committee made up of community leaders and representing the district’s diverse student population.
“The Board of Education is proud to welcome Dr. Jackson as San Diego Unified’s next permanent superintendent,” said Board of Education President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne. “With a deep commitment to equity, inclusion, and empathy for all students and employees, Dr. Jackson is the right person to lead San Diego Unified as we emerge from the pandemic and these unprecedented times.”
Jackson grew up in San Diego and attended elementary and middle school in the district before graduating from Clairemont High School. Jackson graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social sciences. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of San Diego. “I am excited about the future of San Diego Unified with Dr. Jackson as our superintendent,” said Board Vice President Sabrina Bazzo. “Dr. Jackson is a true San Diego Unified success story who is committed to our students, staff and community.”
The board appointed Jackson as interim superintendent in January 2021 after former Superintendent Cindy Marten was called on by the Biden Administration for the office of Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. Jackson and Susan Enfield, superintendent of the Highline Public Schools, were named San Diego Unified superintendent finalists by the board in December.
San Diego Unified had a comprehensive superintendent search process that included input from the community, staff and students. From July to September 2021 alone, the district provided 34 opportunities for community engagement. The process culminated with a superintendent forum Feb. 26 that allowed community members to ask questions of the superintendent finalists and hear from them directly. Additionally, student focus groups shared their perspectives with superintendent finalists.
NCTQ chooses new president to lead nonprofit
The National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan nonprofit research and policy organization dedicated to ensuring every child has access to effective teachers, has announced that it has named Heather Peske as its next president. Peske will step into the role effective May 2022, succeeding Kate Walsh who announced her intent to step down in September 2021 after leading NCTQ for 20 years.
Peske comes to NCTQ from her role as senior associate commissioner for instructional support in the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education where she implemented policies and programs across teacher development, educator preparation, and curriculum and instruction that drove historic improvements for students — including record graduation rates, the highest rating NAEP performance, and dramatic increases in higher-education participation and success.
“NCTQ has a history of focusing on teacher quality and educational excellence,” said Tom Lasley, NCTQ Board Chair. “Kate Walsh established that emphasis during her tenure, and Dr. Peske will be able to build on it in ways that further impact what is occurring in schools and in the preparation of the nation’s next-generation teachers and educational leaders.”
Deeply committed to educational equity, Peske launched a statewide effort in Massachusetts to empower educators with the evidence-based literacy practices necessary to tackle early literacy achievement gaps and promote racial equity.
Peske earned her master’s degree and doctorate in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree from Kenyon College with magna cum laude honors.
Governor makes three appointments to State Board
On Feb. 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced appointments for three new members to the State Board of Education.
Gabriela Gonzalez, 48, of Los Angeles, has been appointed to the State Board of Education. Gonzalez has been an elementary school teacher for the Montebello Unified School District since 2001. She earned a Master of Education degree in educational leadership from California State University, Dominguez Hills. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Gonzalez is a Democrat.
Brenda Lewis, 61, of Bakersfield, has been appointed to the State Board of Education. Lewis was associate superintendent of instruction at the Kern High School District from 2014 to 2021, where she served in several positions from 1988 to 2014, including principal, director of program improvement, assistant principal of instruction, dean of students and physical education teacher. Lewis earned a Master of Science degree in physical education from Oklahoma State University and a Doctor of Education degree in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Lewis is a Democrat.
Sharon Olken, 50, of San Francisco, has been appointed to the State Board of Education. Olken has been executive director of Gateway Public Schools since 2011. She held several positions at Gateway High School from 2000 to 2011, including principal, teacher and dean of faculty. Olken was a teacher of Educating for Equity and Democracy at the Stanford Teacher Education Program from 1998 to 1999. She was a teacher at Homestead High School from 1996 to 2000. Olken was campaign staff for Dianne Feinstein for Senate from 1993 to 1995. She earned a Master of Education degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Education. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Olken is a Democrat.
Last chance to submit for Lead With Pride Summit
Don’t miss your chance to be part of ACSA’s inaugural Lead With Pride Summit by submitting a presentation proposal. The summit, which will be May 4-6 in Oceanside, will empower California school administrators and educators with the tools to create safe and affirming spaces for LGBTQIA+ students and staff. Proposals should provide evidence to support that the workshop is relevant, timely and likely to contribute to professional development of attendees. Find more information and a submission form at Proposals are due at 5 p.m. Friday, March 18. For questions, please reach out to Elaine Cervantez through email at or by phone or text at (916) 329-3824.
School-based health conference held in April
School-based health centers are key to building health and education equity for California’s children and youth. The California School-Based Health Alliance’s statewide conference at University of Redlands in San Bernardino from April 28-29 is a place for health care practitioners, educators and advocates to connect and learn how to support students. See details at
Registration open for HSE Summer Convenings
Registration opens on March 7 for the High School Equivalency Summer Convenings, coming in August. This is a series of professional development trainings for Chief Examiners and Test Site Administrators. These trainings will cover updates from GED Testing Service, the HiSET Program, and the CDE. Find more information and register.
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