By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer
After a year of infighting and turmoil, the Rowland Unified School District named a new superintendent on Tuesday. Julie Mitchell, the chief personnel officer for the Tustin Unified School District, will serve as Rowland’s top administrator.
“Dr. Mitchell stood out among the highly qualified field of candidates for her passion and proven track record in making student-focused decisions that support academic success,” said RUSD school board President Heidi Gallegos. “She has in-depth expertise in instructional strategies and models using technology, innovative professional development programs and breadth in curriculum.”
The search for a new superintendent began last April, when Superintendent Ruben Frutos decided to step down. His tenure was marked by hundreds of teachers demanding that Frutos resign.
In February, the Association of Rowland Educators asked the board to search for a new superintendent.
The board hired Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates to provide input on the qualities desired in a new superintendent. The firm held focus groups, community meetings and an online survey to canvas the community.
Families said they wanted someone who understood the learning process and the importance of new technology. But they also wanted a leader who was approachable and friendly.
More than 50 educators applied for the superintendent’s position. Board members whittled the field down this summer, conducting final interviews over the past couple weeks.
“I am excited and honored to have been chosen as the new superintendent and look forward to working corroboratively with the school board, staff, parents and community,” Mitchell said.
She brings 26 years of experience in public schools. Mitchell worked her way up from instructional aide to assistant superintendent in school districts including Anaheim Union, Capistrano and Irvine. Along the way, she taught middle and high school students, before becoming an assistant principal, then principal.
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