Ravenswood Leadership Spotlight Interview

We recently launched a search for the next Chief Business Officer of Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto, California. The district serves 2,100 students in grades TK-8 in six schools, including a traditional middle school, a dual immersion academy and four schools covering grades TK-5. Of the district’s students, 79% identify as Latinx, 10% as African American, and 9% as Asian/Pacific Islander.

Earlier this year, Gina Sudaria was appointed by Ravenswood’s school board to serve as the Interim Superintendent. Gina has a long history in Ravenswood, having served as a teacher, principal, and head of HR. To learn more about Superintendent Sudaria’s compelling new vision for the district, we asked her a few questions and captured her responses, below.

Edgility: Since stepping into the role of Superintendent earlier this year, where have you focused your time?

Superintendent Sudaria: Since my appointment to the interim superintendent position, we have rebuilt trust between the leadership and the school board. We want to ensure that we are taking thoughtful risks, being transparent about our decision, and collectively learning from our missteps. We established three goals:

  1. Improve instruction with the right people in the right places
  2. Provide holistic support to students
  3. Ensure we are fiscally responsible and solvent

Now six months into my role, we are seeing progress. We have partnered with leading organizations in the sector: 1) to ensure our leadership is normed on research-based instructional leadership practices, 2) to improve teacher practice and delivery of instruction in our classrooms, and 3) to become fiscally solvent while remaining competitive with neighboring districts on compensation.

Edgility: What do you feel has been the greatest accomplishment of your tenure, thus far?

Superintendent Sudaria: Our greatest accomplishment to date is ensuring that we have the right people in the right places as we kick off this 2019-2020 school year. We have reorganized our central office, appointed transformative leaders at the school site, and emphasized the importance of collegiality and a growth mindset at every level of the district. Individuals throughout the district are prepared to do the “real” work.

Edgility: What is “special” about working at Ravenswood?

Superintendent Sudaria: The district is embarking on a new chapter with a renewed commitment to dramatically improving education for the ~2100 students it serves. The community recently elected a new school board, and the board appointed new leadership for the district. We are committed to supporting principals and improving the quality of teaching and learning in RCSD schools.

Edgility: Where is Ravenswood headed in the next 3-5 years?  What role will the CBO play in helping to get you there?

Superintendent Sudaria: We are in the midst of creating our strategic plan for the next 3-5 years. Our plan will include state of the art facilities and maximizing resources so every child receives a rigorous, engaging, and effective learning experience.

Our incoming CBO will experience a smooth transition under the careful support and oversight of our interim CBO, Jim Lianides. Jim’s years of experience as CBO and Superintendent have positioned the district well to ensure the next CBO is successful by carrying forward the structures and procedures Jim has implemented. Additionally, the team is fully staffed, so the CBO will have time to analyze and strategically plan for the district’s fiscal solvency in a manner that also ensures the district is prepared to execute on our strategic plan.