Board appoints veteran administrator José L. Banda to lead SCUSD
The Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education voted Thursday to appoint veteran educator José L. Banda, currently Seattle Public Schools Superintendent, to the top post in Sacramento.
At a press conference this morning, Mr. Banda, who grew up in Bakersfield and spent three decades working in California public schools, said he is excited to get started in Sacramento and happy to be back in the Golden State.
“I went to California public schools, I did my education program at Sac State and my student teaching in Woodland,” he said. “I feel lucky and blessed to have spent my career in education in California public schools. My roots go deep here.”
Throughout his career, Mr. Banda has established a track record of lifting struggling schools to academic excellence, focusing on equity and opportunities for students and engaging families and communities in district work.
He previously served as superintendent for the 20,000-student Anaheim City School District, where 85 percent of students qualify for a free or reduced price lunch and 60 percent are English Language Learners. During his four years at the helm in Anaheim, the district’s rating on the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) increased from 694 to 776.
He has also focused on building relationships with stakeholders. “We can’t do this work alone,” he said. “We need to engage our parents and our community.”
In Seattle, Mr. Banda formed a 70-person task force to create a new five-year strategic plan titled “Every Student. Every Classroom. Every Day.” He said he will spend his first 100 days in Sacramento meeting with the community and staff and “actively listening” to concerns.
SCUSD has been without a permanent superintendent since December, following the resignation of former superintendent Jonathan Raymond. Dr. Sara Noguchi, a former teacher, principal and central office administrator, has served as Interim Superintendent for the past seven months. She will remain at SCUSD during the transition.
At the press conference, SCUSD Board President Patrick Kennedy thanked Dr. Noguchi for her excellent leadership and service. During her tenure as Interim Superintendent, the district transitioned to a new student information system and a new online testing system. “Through this massive transition, she represented the district with poise and integrity,” he said.
Established in 1854, Sacramento City Unified has approximately 43,000 students at 75 schools and is one of the largest employers in the Sacramento region.