News

Interim superintendent Gina Sudaria to lead Ravenswood school district on a permanent basis

Despite mixed board support in past, 22-year employee will lead K-8 district

After serving just over a year as the Ravenswood City School District's interim superintendent, Gina Sudaria has been selected as the K-8 district's permanent superintendent.

The school board announced its selection in a press release on Monday afternoon. Board President Ana Maria Pulido said the trustees chose Sudaria during an all-day closed session special meeting on March 28 and will formally vote on her new contract at their next regular meeting on April 16.

"In choosing Gina Sudaria, the Board of Trustees made the decision to select a leader for our district with deep institutional history," Pulido said in the release. "The board felt that Gina is best suited to push forth the many reforms undertaken at Ravenswood during the last five years, and we are confident she can maintain our district on that course."

Sudaria, who has worked in various roles in Ravenswood for over two decades, has largely been praised for restoring morale and trust at the East Palo Alto district after taking over as interim superintendent last spring. The board appointed her interim superintendent after putting former superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff on paid leave. Hernandez-Goff, whose tenure was controversial, marred by budget woes and community protests, was soon forced to resign.

Despite pleas from the community that the board conduct an internal search for the district's next superintendent, which would have likely resulted in Sudaria's permanent appointment, the trustees voted in October to search externally. It was not clear at the time whether Sudaria had majority support on the board for her permanent hiring.

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The board voted 4-1 in January, with Trustee Tamara Sobomehin dissenting, to hire search firm Leadership Associates to oversee the superintendent search process. The board did consider outside applicants, Pulido said.

In Monday's announcement, Sudaria thanked the board for "trusting me to implement their vision."

Sudaria took over at a challenging time for Ravenswood, with budget cuts and shrinking enrollment prompting the close Willow Oaks and Brentwood elementary schools in June. The district also recently adopted a new strategic plan. Now, COVID-19 is forcing a district with many students lacking at-home internet and technology access to quickly transition to distance learning.

Sudaria started her career as a teacher at Belle Haven Elementary School in 1998. After six years of teaching, she became vice principal and then principal of Costaño Elementary School and 49ers Academy. She was principal for nearly eight years before moving to the district, first as director of human resources and then director of student services.

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Interim superintendent Gina Sudaria to lead Ravenswood school district on a permanent basis

Despite mixed board support in past, 22-year employee will lead K-8 district

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Apr 6, 2020, 4:02 pm

After serving just over a year as the Ravenswood City School District's interim superintendent, Gina Sudaria has been selected as the K-8 district's permanent superintendent.

The school board announced its selection in a press release on Monday afternoon. Board President Ana Maria Pulido said the trustees chose Sudaria during an all-day closed session special meeting on March 28 and will formally vote on her new contract at their next regular meeting on April 16.

"In choosing Gina Sudaria, the Board of Trustees made the decision to select a leader for our district with deep institutional history," Pulido said in the release. "The board felt that Gina is best suited to push forth the many reforms undertaken at Ravenswood during the last five years, and we are confident she can maintain our district on that course."

Sudaria, who has worked in various roles in Ravenswood for over two decades, has largely been praised for restoring morale and trust at the East Palo Alto district after taking over as interim superintendent last spring. The board appointed her interim superintendent after putting former superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff on paid leave. Hernandez-Goff, whose tenure was controversial, marred by budget woes and community protests, was soon forced to resign.

Despite pleas from the community that the board conduct an internal search for the district's next superintendent, which would have likely resulted in Sudaria's permanent appointment, the trustees voted in October to search externally. It was not clear at the time whether Sudaria had majority support on the board for her permanent hiring.

The board voted 4-1 in January, with Trustee Tamara Sobomehin dissenting, to hire search firm Leadership Associates to oversee the superintendent search process. The board did consider outside applicants, Pulido said.

In Monday's announcement, Sudaria thanked the board for "trusting me to implement their vision."

Sudaria took over at a challenging time for Ravenswood, with budget cuts and shrinking enrollment prompting the close Willow Oaks and Brentwood elementary schools in June. The district also recently adopted a new strategic plan. Now, COVID-19 is forcing a district with many students lacking at-home internet and technology access to quickly transition to distance learning.

Sudaria started her career as a teacher at Belle Haven Elementary School in 1998. After six years of teaching, she became vice principal and then principal of Costaño Elementary School and 49ers Academy. She was principal for nearly eight years before moving to the district, first as director of human resources and then director of student services.

Comments

Mark Dinan
East Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2020 at 5:39 pm
Mark Dinan, East Palo Alto
on Apr 6, 2020 at 5:39 pm
11 people like this

Congratulations to Superintendent Sudaria! We are extremely fortunate to have her in a leadership position during these turbulent times. She is skillfully navigating extremely difficult circumstances in RCSD, and has taken multiple challenges head on. RCSD is heading in the right direction, and strong leadership at the top is the reason why.


Really?
Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:37 am
Really? , Menlo Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 9:37 am
7 people like this

To Mark
"We are extremely fortunate to have her in a leadership position during these turbulent times."
If you are so fortunate, why don't you show it by taking your kids out of the Tinsyley Transfer and bring them to Ravenswood school district?
Show your support with actions not just words.


Michelle
Crescent Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 10:45 am
Michelle, Crescent Park
on Apr 7, 2020 at 10:45 am
4 people like this

Gina and her special education director have been amazing! They quickly adopted new programs for struggling readers and cut costs in an efficient manner. The Board made the right decision.


Jorge
East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:19 pm
Jorge, East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:19 pm
2 people like this

"The board felt that Gina is best suited to push forth the many reforms undertaken at Ravenswood during the last five years, and we are confident she can maintain our district on that course."

Gloria 2.0


Jorge
East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:20 pm
Jorge, East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2020 at 12:20 pm
1 person likes this

"The board felt that Gina is best suited to push forth the many reforms undertaken at Ravenswood during the last five years, and we are confident she can maintain our district on that course." Gloria 2.0


Sandra
East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Sandra , East Palo Alto
on Apr 7, 2020 at 2:36 pm
2 people like this

I can’t believe all the money that you guys wasted There’s four corrupt board members in there that you guys can I see the mistake is Gina is doing in the district I started from the MRS all that violent that it’s in that’s school kids bringing drugs into school 100% big mistake you guys in select her


Observer
East Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Observer, East Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2020 at 4:18 pm
Like this comment

Really? Residents can support leaders regardless. You bringing someone’s child into this is distasteful and reflects poorly on you. You sound as rude as Gail.


Mutti
East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2020 at 7:16 am
Mutti, East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2020 at 7:16 am
Like this comment

Gina has already made a positive impact on RCSD during her year as interim Superintendent. It shows her good character that she was willing to work so hard when she wasn't even sure she would get to stay long-term. She has a commitment to the students and staff of Ravenswood.


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