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DOWNEY - Dr. John Garcia, deputy superintendent for educational services at Glendale Unified School District, has been selected as DUSD's new superintendent to succeed Dr. Wendy Doty, who is stepping down effective March 31 after a decade of service as superintendent and over 30 years of work in all at DUSD.
Garcia takes over on Monday, April 1.
LaPlante made the formal announcement, in an e-mail to DUSD employees early Monday morning. He said the Board's decision to hire Garcia over the other finalist, Dr. Julie Mitchell, chief personnel officer for the Tustin Unified School District, was made on Friday night prior.
The third finalist, Dr. Cristopher King, interim superintendent of the Anaheim City School District, had earlier unexpectedly withdrawn his name for consideration.
LaPlante said the Board expects to approve a formal 4-year, renewable employment contract with Garcia at the regular board meeting on Tuesday. Its details are currently being threshed out. He will be introduced at Tuesday's meeting.
LaPlante said the Board plans to bring the Superintendent Designate to Downey Unified to work as soon as possible to allow him to visit schools and to meet with employees before he formally assumes his new position.
Garcia, a Ph. D. in Urban Educational Leadership graduate of Claremont Graduate University, attended Carpenter Elementary School and Sussman Middle School, and is a 1985 graduate of Downey High School. Born in Hawthorne, the 45-year old educator came to Downey when he was 6.
He received his B.S. in Criminal Justice (minor in U.S./Legal History) from Cal State Long Beach in 1992; his elementary Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential with a supplement in Bilingual (Spanish) Cross-cultural Language and Academic Development (BCLAD) from Cal State Dominguez Hills in 1994; an M.S. in Educational Leadership in 1997 from Cal State Fullerton; and an Executive MBA also from Claremont in 2004.
Additional international management training included an Executive Training Module undertaken at Oxford University's Templeton College in 2003.
In an e-mail to The Patriot, Garcia expressed his initial thoughts on his new job:
"I am incredibly fortunate to be able to come home to Downey, a place that gave me so much as a young person growing up in this community. Downey Unified and the Downey community provided me with role models, athletics, arts, and a strong foundation academically and socially.
With all the outstanding work that is already being done in the district, my goal is to pick up where Dr. Doty is leaving off and to continue achieving the goals established by the Board of Education."
In his announcement, LaPlante said the Board "appreciates the input we received from many employees and our employee organization over the course of (our) search" and "wants to thank Dr. Wendy Doty for her many years of service for DUSD."
He added: "All of us are tremendously indebted to Dr. Doty for her steady leadership of the District during the trying economic times we have all faced together for the last few years."
And, finally: "The Board tremendously appreciates the work each one of you do every day to help educate the students of the Downey Unified School District. We thank all of you so much for your exemplary service."
Garcia has a significant connection to the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District as well.
After starting his educational career in 1992 when he taught 5th grade at Oak Street Elementary School in the Inglewood USD until 1994, Garcia taught 4th grade at Sanchez Elementary School, NLMUSD, until 1997, then became assistant principal in Waite Middle School, NLMUSD, till 1999, then principal in Eastwood Elementary School, NLMUSD, until 2002.
He then served as principal in Costa Mesa Middle School, Newport-Mesa USD, from 2002-2005, then principal in Costa Mesa High School, Newport-Mesa USD, from 2005-2007, before his appointment as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources as well as Director of Classified Personnel in the Glendale USD from 2007-2010, prior to his elevation to Deputy Superintendent for Educational Services in 2010.
Garcia resides in East Whittier with wife Nicole and their two children: Madeline, a senior in high school, and 7th grader Jacob.
He said the Board of Education and Superintendent in Glendale USD have meanwhile been "incredibly supportive of my efforts" to become the next DUSD Superintendent.
A community reception for Garcia is planned, time and place yet to be determined.
Published: February 14, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 44