Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent Donald Evans plans to retire effective July 31, 2019, after six years in the role. The School Board accepted his resignation letter at its meeting last night, Jan. 10.
In announcing the Board’s action, School Board Vice President Beatriz Leyva-Cutler said, “We understand the Superintendent’s need to focus on family and certainly appreciate his dedication to Berkeley Unified. We each value his work on behalf of our district and the colleague and friend he has become for us for many years.”
In the coming weeks, the Board will discuss the next steps for a superintendent search, Ms. Leyva-Cutler said. At last night’s Board meeting, Vice President Leyva-Cutler also said, “We will not say our goodbyes right now as the Superintendent has seven months of hard work ahead with our district to get us through the budget process, union negotiations, LCAP, and help set the stage for the new school year.”
In a message to District families this morning, Dr. Evans said:
Dear BUSD Families,
I am writing to inform you that I will be retiring from my position as Berkeley’s superintendent on July 31, 2019.
I have been blessed with a rewarding and meaningful career of over 30 years in public education, and I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve as Berkeley Unified School District Superintendent for the past six years.
During my time here, we’ve worked to create welcoming and inclusive schools. We adopted the Toolbox Curriculum, expanded restorative practices, and changed policies to help keep kids in school. Student leaders successfully challenged us to strengthen our policies and practices to address bullying and sexual harassment.
We also successfully transitioned to the Common Core and to the use of new state assessments. We used the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) as an opportunity to invest in excellent teaching and to refine programs and services to boost student achievement. Professional development opportunities for teachers and staff grew and the use of effective teaching practices spread. We expanded specialized programs and services so all students can access our enriched and engaging curriculum.
Parent engagement and student leadership have been a key part of our continuous improvement. Your participation and feedback helped inform the goals and priorities outlined in our LCAP, and in 2016, we garnered a ‘yes’ vote from 89% of Berkeley voters to renew the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (Measure E1).
More recently, we adopted new English Language Arts curriculum materials for elementary and middle school students and supported the high school in the transition to the Universal 9th Grade program. I am also really excited about how far we have come with Career Technical Education!
These are just some of the many positive changes we made and challenges we successfully faced together; I am proud of the progress we’ve made.
I have great confidence in my current leadership team and in the vision of our collaborative and forward-thinking school board directors. Being able to leave our school district in strong, capable hands has made my decision to retire that much easier.
The School Board will immediately begin to discuss next steps. Over the next six months, I will work closely with the school board directors and with members of my executive cabinet to put together a leadership transition plan. My hope is that we will have a new superintendent in place before I retire at the end of July.
Donald Evans, Ed.D.