HomeBlocksFront-TopGUSD Superintendent: Much Done, but More to Come

GUSD Superintendent: Much Done, but More to Come

First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.

By Vivian Ekchian
Special to the Glendale News-Press

On Aug. 30, the Glendale Unified Board of Education voted unanimously to extend my contract as Superintendent. I’m deeply honored and grateful for the Board’s trust and support.
It would have been impossible to predict what my first three years in this role would be like when I accepted this position back in 2019. Indeed, I can say with confidence that Glendale Unified has been in great company as we have been challenged to rewrite and adapt plan after plan to meet the many opportunities we found ourselves facing the last several years.
The benefit of unpredictable circumstances is they test us to make sure our priorities are in the right place. I believe that what we showed as a district — from our board to our administration to our teachers and staff to our families and students — is that every decision we make is and always will be in the best interest of children. The spirit of adaptability that was the guidepost for our work the last two years remains as we continue to focus on meeting every child’s needs.
Unity of purpose, of course, doesn’t mean that our entire community will always agree on how best to meet the needs of our students. If we can all agree, however, that school should be a welcoming place where every child feels valued and included, and that every student, employee, and family member is deserving of respect, then the incredible diversity of our community will continue to be a strength and an asset.
I pledge that we as a district will work to be a unifying presence that, through transparency, humility, and inclusiveness, will ensure that all perspectives are heard and that our entire community has a role to play in meeting the needs of our students.
Already, we can see the fruits of this effort in our partnerships and programs. We have built partnerships to close the digital divide, provide dual college enrollment opportunities, expand access to internships, grow our before- and after-school programs, and work to create health and wellness centers at all of our middle and high schools. We know from research and experience that addressing the social-emotional, relational and academic needs of our students are all necessary if we are going to live out the promise of the equitable learning environment to which we all aspire.
We also know too well, however, that despite our efforts to date, there are still too many students who struggle academically. For those students, we need to identify the opportunity gaps and begin filling them in immediately. Likewise, we need to continue to provide challenging opportunities for those students ready to accelerate their learning.
In my time in Glendale Unified, I have been privileged to be joined in this effort by dedicated board members, administrators, teachers, staff, families, community members and student leaders who share a vision for our schools that embodies the core value of commitment to student success. I am excited that, together, we get to continue this incredibly challenging and rewarding work for another four years.

Vivian Ekchian is superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District.

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