By Mary O’KEEFE
Glendale Unified School District is in the process of looking for an assistant superintendent to replace departing deputy superintendent John Garcia.
Garcia is leaving to take the position of superintendent of the Downey Unified School District, which for him is coming full circle.
“It’s a [kind of] homecoming. I went through the Downey Unified School District,” Garcia said. “I grew up in the community.”
For the past six years, Garcia has worked in GUSD, the first three years as the assistant superintendent of Human Resources and the last three in Educational Services.
Garcia said if not for the opportunity to return to the district he grew up in, he would not have thought of leaving GUSD.
“GUSD is such a great district,” he said. “Really only a stellar opportunity would have taken me away.”
“We are very excited for John,” said GUSD Superintendent Richard Sheehan of his co-worker and friend’s new position.
Garcia and Sheehan had a good working relationship and had seen positive achievements within the district as well as weathered tragedies at schools.
“John has been very insightful and he is a friend,” Sheehan said. “We have an open and honest relationship.”
Garcia said he would miss the GUSD staff and community.
“Really, there are two [aspects I will miss]: one is how much the community cares about kids in Glendale and Crescenta Valley and number two is the quality of people that are working in the district,” Garcia said.
He added the district worked with the school staff and community members on several issues including whether to close the CVHS campus during lunch. Last year the district, with Garcia as the main spokesman, began proposing to close the school’s campus. For years, the campus has had an open lunch policy allowing students to go to local businesses for lunch, or stay on campus as was their choice.
CVHS students as well as parents and community members were concerned about the proposal. Garcia was invited to an open discussion with over 100 students from the school in attendance. They met at the Fire House youth center and presented their case. Garcia and the district held other community meetings. These discussions resulted in the campus remaining open.
Students pointed out at the time that not all districts would reach out for student opinions and actually listen.
With Garcia’s departure, the position is now open for internal and external applicants.
“We feel we have very strong internal candidates, but we will be looking for the very best person for the job,” Sheehan said.
Applications will be accepted through March 29 at 4:30 p.m. The district is hoping to name a new assistant superintendent of Student Services in May.
Garcia will be taking the Downey district reins on