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.