Colton Joint Unified Superintendent Almendarez accepts new position in Santa Ana

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photo/CJUSD:  Colton Joint Unified School District Superintendent Jerry Almendarez, who led the school district for nine years, has accepted a position as superintendent for the Santa Ana Unified School District effective Jan. 1, 2020.
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The Colton Joint Unified School District’s Board of Education announced Wednesday, Nov. 20 that it has begun the process to appoint a new Superintendent to replace long-time CJUSD leader Jerry Almendarez.

Almendarez, Superintendent of CJUSD the past nine years, accepted a position this week as the new superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District. He will begin his new duties Jan 1 and will remain Superintendent of CJUSD until then.

Almendarez became superintendent of CJUSD in November 2010. Focuses of his leadership include community involvement, collaboration, and seeking innovative ways to inspire student achievement and engagement. In addition to moving forward with an appointment process, the CJUSD Board also has a scheduled special meeting on Dec. 9 to discuss its goals, which set the district’s direction and priorities and are part of the superintendent’s evaluation process.

“We wish Superintendent Almendarez the very best and congratulate the Santa Ana school district on an excellent selection,” CJUSD Board President Joanne Thoring-Ojeda said. “We are also excited about continuing the outstanding work in our district to prepare all of our students for successful lives and to do that in the best, most effective ways possible.”

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In 2013, Almendarez formed CJUSD’s Community Cabinet as part of his Purposeful Community project to bring the business, government, non-profit and educational communities together to work toward common goals such as preparing students for the workforce. Currently in its seventh year, the initiative pulls hundreds of members from a wide cross section of the community, informing them about district programs and engaging them in activities directly with students.

He co-presented this month at the EdSurge Fusion conference on the topic of “applying learning science to real classes and empowering students and educators,” along with a CJUSD principal and representatives from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning. In July, as part of the fourth cohort of TED-ED Innovative Educators, he delivered a talk on the topic, “Educational Inequities – identifying inequities within your own district and determining how to address them.”

“This was an extremely difficult decision,” Almendarez said. “CJUSD is more than the place where I work. It is home. My friends and colleagues here shaped my learning and

growth as a professional. Our students and community inspire me to want to try my best to play a part in their success. And I know they will continue to thrive.”

Almendarez began his career in the Colton Joint Unified School District as a math teacher. Before becoming superintendent, he served as assistant superintendent of Human Resources and as director of Human Resources. Prior to that time he was a principal at Colton High School and an assistant principal. He also served as an adjunct professor for Azusa Pacific University and the University of Redlands, teaching courses in educational leadership for educators seeking their master’s degrees and/or administrative credentials. He represents East Valley superintendents on the San Bernardino County District Advocates for Better Schools (SANDABS) Executive Committee.​ A​ lmendarez is also a product of the Colton Joint Unified School District. He received his K-12 education there, graduating from Colton High.

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