Dr. Gunn Marie Hansen, who has been serving as interim superintendent for the Orange Unified School District (OUSD), was selected to take on the position permanently during a closed session board of trustees meeting.
Her nomination for the position apparently came as a surprise to several board members who were unaware that a superintendent would be named at that meeting. The closed session vote was five “yeas” and two abstentions, as reported during the public meeting, Dec. 7.
Trustees Brenda Lebsack and Andrea Yamasaki made it clear that they abstained, not due to lack of confidence in Hansen, but because the process was “short-circuited.” Both emphasized their support of the new superintendent.
“I am disappointed in the process,” Trustee Kathy Moffat agreed. “We came to the right decision, but didn’t do it in the right way.”
This was the second time Hansen (and some board members) had been surprised with an unexpected action regarding the district superintendent position. She was originally named as acting interim superintendent last August, when predecessor Mike Christensen retired. The board hired a search firm to not only find a replacement superintendent, but to identify an interim candidate as well. The original search firm was subsequently fired, and a second firm enlisted. As the second firm was reportedly seeking an interim superintendent, board members John Ortega and Tim Surridge suggested Hansen for the job, making a surprise motion, Sept. 14. A floored board unanimously agreed that the "acting" interim superintendent should become the real interim superintendent. Several members, however, expressed dismay at the lack of process, and the unexpected nature of the nomination.
Hansen accepted the interim superintendent role at that time; she will become the permanent superintendent for OUSD, pending contract negotiations. She previously served OUSD as deputy superintendent for education. Under her leadership, the district earned 24 California Gold Ribbon School awards, expanded 13 Career Technical Education pathways, promoted innovative STEAM programs and collaborative relationships with teachers and staff, resulting in numerous awards for OUSD schools. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Southern California and two bachelor’s degrees from Tulane University.
“It is a distinct honor to be selected by the OUSD trustees as the new superintendent,” she said. “I am excited to get to work with our team to accelerate student achievement, develop innovative opportunities for learning, and guide the implementation of the facilities bond.”
In other board action, Alexia Deligianni-Brydges was elected president for 2018; Kathy Moffat, vice president; and Tim Surridge, clerk. All were elected by unanimous vote.
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OUSD names new superintendent