Mammoth Unfied School District’s Board of Education met Monday afternoon in Closed Session to deliberate hiring an Interim Superintendent, filling the post recently resigned by Rich Boccia. On Wednesday, the District announced in a press statement that an offer was extended to and accepted by Ms. Lou Stewart, who will take over as of Monday, March 11.
“We are thrilled that Ms. Stewart has accepted this responsibility and agreed to step up and guide our district,” said Gloria Vasquez, Clerk of the MUSD Board and President Pro Tem said. “With more than 35 years of experience in public education, she brings expertise, energy and proven leadership to our school community.”
According to the District, Stewart retired from Glendale Unified School District, where she served as Assistant Superintendent, and since retirement has been working with the consulting firms, Focus on Results and Pivot Learning Partners, to provide training and coaching to struggling school districts around the country.
Her previous leadership roles include elementary school principal, high school co-principal and Director of Special Education. She was the recipient of the 2008 Special Education Administrator of the Year, from the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). She began her career as a special education teacher.
The Board had set a goal of finding a superintendent within two weeks. When beginning discussions, MUSD’s legal counsel firm, Fagen, Friedman and Fulfrost, which represents both MUSD and GUSD, knew of Stewart, and forwarded her name as someone who had extensive administrative experience and lived locally.
Vasquez also knew of her professionally, when both were principals of GUSD schools. “I hadn’t initially thought of her, but when pitched her name, I remembered her and that she had moved and was living up her full time,” Vasquez told The Sheet. “It was an ‘ah hah’ moment. The Board was interested in her immediately, in that we had a very short turnaround time to find somebody, Ms. Stewart is qualified and there wouldn’t be any travel involved. She was available to interview her on Monday during the meeting. We talked about it afterwards, made an offer and she accepted the next day. It went quickly, but also very smoothly.”
Stewart and her husband have long owned property in Mammoth Lakes and moved here permanently last July. Stewart told The Sheet this week she had no comment as yet, other than, “I’m still getting my feet on the ground … it all happened pretty quickly.”
The Board will initiate a search for a permanent superintendent beginning in late March, following an assessment of district needs.
Speaking of Boccia, who has been the subject of much speculation this week, one person who expressed some concern regarding the recent resignation of former Mammoth Unified School District Superintendent Rich was District English Learners Advisory Committee President Miriam Solis. “I thought he was a great man who gave a voice to Latinos,” Solis told MUSD’s Board of Education last Thursday. “I’m sorry to say this, but we still have one community that is over the other community. It’s not a good thing for our children, our community and our nation. [Mr. Boccia] made us feel like we were part of making pathways for our children, that we had rights, a vote. We don’t want to lose this.” Solis added she hoped the new Supervisor would continue that trend.