ACSA’s Stuart Packard named president of SSDA

September 21, 2020
Stuart Packard, superintendent at Buttonwillow Union Elementary School District in Buttonwillow, has been named president of the Small School Districts’ Association. Packard is a member of ACSA West Kern Charter. He served as vice president of legislative action for the charter in 2018-19. Packard began his career in the banking industry, but soon found it was not for him. He returned to his alma mater, the University of La Verne, to obtain his teaching credential. After a short stint teaching in the Ontario-Montclair School District, he moved to Kern County where he continued teaching and rose through the ranks, working at various schools throughout the county before settling in Buttonwillow as superintendent/principal 10 years ago. He is now the superintendent of the district. Packard has served the educational community on several boards, committees and councils — Schools Legal Board of Directors, Kern County Facilities Committee, Kern County SELPA Executive Council, and as an alternate on the SISC Board. He has been a member of the executive board of the SSDA since 2013 and served as vice president in 2019-20, with the main focus being legislative action. “SSDA’s mission has always been focused on students and the needs of small and rural districts throughout the state. From its founding 32 years ago, we have wanted to make sure that the voice of small schools and districts is heard,” Packard said.  With the extremely unfortunate outbreak of COVID-19, SSDA is now in the room and working with other educational groups and organizations, as well as meeting with both the state board president, state governor’s office and the state superintendent’s office directly.
SSDA’s immediate goal is to assist districts throughout the state with working through the reopening of schools. 

“SSDA’s mission has always been focused on students and the needs of small and rural districts.”
—Stuart Packard, President, Small School Districts’ Association
“Some of our schools may be in highly impacted counties, but a district could not have any outbreaks of COVID and be up to 2.5 hours away from areas that are most seriously impacted,” he said. “We also work closely with the smaller county offices and many of these counties are seeing very limited outbreaks of COVID.” The association’s intermediary goals are focusing on helping districts get a handle on the fiscal crisis that is looming and in many cases has already severely impacted them. Long range goals include extending relationships to small district associations throughout the country while working with the National Rural Education Association and building relationships with the tech industry to be a vital link in assisting members to close the digital divide.  Lastly, SSDA will work closely with other organizations to provide the necessary trainings and connections to assist small schools throughout the state that need assistance, whether it be fiscal, management, curriculum, or leadership related. “I believe in what ACSA is doing. I am proud to be a member of ACSA, and very proud of the positive and close relationship that SSDA and ACSA are continuing to cultivate. Our relationship is symbiotic as we both have goals that make students a priority,” Packard said. “It is apparent that one size does not fit all and that districts throughout this state are able to determine what is in the best interest of the people they serve. Our small and rural districts are a niche that represents 64 percent of school districts throughout the state.”
Stuart Packard has been named president of the Small School Districts’ Association.

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