The LGUSD Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the unanimous appointment of Paul Johnson as the new Superintendent to lead the District effective July 1, 2018.
Paul comes to Los Gatos from the Mill Valley School District in Marin County, where he has served as Superintendent for the past 7 years. In this role, Paul has been the leader of a K-8 district that educates roughly 3,100 students across five elementary schools and one middle school. Among the many curricular accomplishments in Mill Valley on his watch, the district rolled out an IB-like program called World Savvy and implemented the Columbia Teacher’s College Reading Workshop model in all grades K-8. He also led the district in the development and implementation of a 5-year strategic plan during the 2013-18 timeframe and recently completed the development of a new 5-year strategic plan for 2018 moving forward.
Financially, under Paul’s leadership, the Mill Valley district has nurtured and sustained a highly effective financial support base with nearly $5 million in total annual community support from their local foundation and PTAs combined, and he led the community recently in adding and renewing parcel taxes totaling over $1,000. The district also has achieved and maintained the highest (triple A) bond ratings with both Moody’s and S&P.
Prior to Mill Valley, Paul served as the superintendent in the Loomis Union School District outside of Sacramento. Among the accomplishments there that are relevant to Los Gatos, the Loomis district opened an IB school in 2008. Paul has been a lifelong educator and educational leader, starting his career in 1987 as an elementary school teacher in Riverside, where in addition to his teaching duties, he wrote and composed musicals for the students to perform. Paul’s career trajectory includes stints as Assistant Principal, Principal, and Assistant Superintendent in addition to his prior Superintendent posts.
In Paul, the LGUSD Board believes that we have found a leader who meets all of the criteria from the community … if there were such a thing as “the whole superintendent”, that would be Paul Johnson. His reference letters are full of testaments to his ability to build, grow, improve and innovate, not to mention his aptitude for forming and maintaining relationships with teachers, staff, administrators, the certificated and classified union leadership, parents, town residents and community organizations. One characteristic that came up repeatedly was that Paul is “the nicest person you will ever meet.”
In the search process, there was a considerable amount of time and effort put into gathering input to develop a profile of what was needed and expected by our community in our next superintendent. Based on that, the LGUSD Board was charged with finding an educational leader with: vision and drive for academic excellence, a proven track record of collaboration across the community, an in-depth understanding of what it means to educate the whole child, who leads with integrity and honesty, and the ability to do all of that in a way that meets the unique needs of the Los Gatos community. There were three dozen applicants, and that group was narrowed down through a series of screening steps and interviews to seven semi-finalist and then three finalist candidates. After another round of interviews with the finalists along with in-depth reference checks, Paul was the candidate who rose to the top of the list in the view of every individual board member. This was further confirmed via in-person interviews school district staff, board and community members on site in Mill Valley.
On a final note, before deciding to channel his drive and energy into education, Paul was an Olympic-level swimmer. He was top-ranked in the butterfly in the late 1970’s and was part of the US Olympic trial cohort in 1980. Sadly for Paul and his teammates, that was the year that the US boycotted the Moscow Summer Games in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. We are fortunate that Paul chose to shift his focus from swimming to the career in education that would ultimately lead him to Los Gatos.
Paul and his wife, Debbie, are aiming to relocate and settle in the Los Gatos area prior to the start of the upcoming school year.