School Board trustee’s ‘unequivocal support’ of new superintendent

Posted on May 26, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

I wanted to enter into the public record the rationale for my unequivocal support of Dr. Adrian Palazuelos as the next superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District.

First I want to speak to the process. The search and selection process was exhaustive, rigorous, and impartial. We ended up with 35 strong applicants, which the search firm helped narrow down to six highly qualified finalists. It was an incredibly competitive pool of candidates. All were either sitting superintendents or assistant superintendents with extensive cabinet level experience in K-12 districts. All had curriculum experience and direct experience working in high schools. All had experience managing large budgets. All but one had a Ph.D. 

The board conducted multiple rounds of interviews. In addition, each board member had one-on-one meetings with candidates. We and our search firm also conducted extensive due diligence on each candidate. 

Throughout the process, we tried to balance the desires of competing stakeholder interests, the needs of students, and the priorities of the board. No single candidate embodied all of these competing qualities. As a board, we had to prioritize the qualifications and experience we were seeking. Through lengthy deliberations, the board came to a consensus in unanimous support for Dr. Palazuelos. I was very satisfied with the process. 

I also believe Dr. Palazuelos is an exceptional fit for Sonoma Valley Unified. He is an experienced leader with a strong professional and personal track record and also possesses the motivation and initiative that will help move our district forward. 

Dr. Palazuelos’ grandfather came to the U.S. under the Bracero work program. Dr. Palazuelos is the first in his family to attend college, at UC Irvine. He received a Master’s Degree in Education from UCLA and then his Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara. 

Dr. Palazuelos started his career as a bilingual teacher at the elementary level. He also served as a high school principal at Fresno High School in the Central Valley. He has worked as an assistant superintendent in the Sacramento area and deep experience in curriculum and instruction. He served for the past 6.5 years as superintendent of Fillmore Unified in Ventura County in Southern California where he increased student access to AP classes, reduced high school suspensions, increased attendance, led a $35 million bond initiative to revitalize facilities with 71% voter support, invested in a high-quality, district-wide preschool program and provided decisive leadership during the Thomas and Maria fires which came within half a mile of school property. 

Dr. Palazuelos is committed to making Sonoma Schools exceptional learning institutions. He has my full support as our next superintendent.

— Anne Ching, Trustee, Sonoma Valley Unified School District


One thought on “School Board trustee’s ‘unequivocal support’ of new superintendent

  1. Anne Ching has my respect based on her past actions as a board meeting participant. Hope that she can be a proponent of desperately needed change in education in SVUSD. Her note needs one correction – board member John Kelly voted against according to other sources. He claimed the search “fundamentally flawed”. It’s another example where the outcome of the new superintendents tenure will be primarily up to 4 board members as Kelly is always at the center of controversy and student proficiency has plummeted under his watch. To date, the headlines are about SVUSD spending Measure E millions, not about improving the failing education system. It will take radical change for a turnaround.

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