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Board Announces Interim Superintendent

Dear SCUSD Community, 

We are thrilled to announce that, at tonight’s board meeting, the Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Trustees named Dr. Gary Waddell as our interim superintendent. 

Dr. Gary Waddell

The board was committed to identifying an interim as quickly as possible. We wanted a candidate who can provide the stability and specialized skillset needed to support the community and our board through the process of searching for our next permanent superintendent, while still advancing our vision and goals over the next year. We asked our county superintendent, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, to assist the board in recruiting a pool of highly qualified candidates who could meet these needs.

Dr. Waddell comes to SCUSD with excitement for our district’s vision and values, a passionate interest in building relationships, and an impressive breadth of experience that has proven to close achievement and opportunity gaps for students. 

“Dr. Waddell’s strengths in educational equity at the county and state level, and creating strong teams of educational leaders to support students, will bring a focus on growing student academic achievement and their social-emotional well-being. His background and authenticity regarding student focus is a great match for the strong vision that our district has developed of what our students should achieve,” says Board President Jodi Muirhead. 

Biography for Dr. Gary Waddell

Dr. Gary Waddell most recently served as the associate superintendent of equity, educational progress, and public affairs at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. In this role, he led teams providing oversight of Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP), differentiated assistance, state and federal programs, assessment and accountability, the Inclusion Collaborative, and public affairs, media, and communications. He was formerly the deputy superintendent of the San Mateo County Office of Education where he led instructional services including curriculum and instruction, assessment and accountability, STEAM, environmental literacy, administrator preparation, early learning services, and state and federal initiatives, among others. He has been recognized by the San Mateo Board of Supervisors for his programs that closed achievement and opportunity gaps.

He has a passion for equity, arts learning, and transformative leadership. Dr. Waddell holds a doctorate in educational leadership in addition to degrees in administration, school counseling, and drama. He has over 35 years of service in public schools as a teacher, school counselor, and administrator at every level in both California and North Carolina. He has been recognized with numerous leadership and human rights awards.

Statement from the Interim Superintendent

“I am excited to join the SCUSD team and eager to get to know the staff, community, and the students that all of this is about. I am inspired by the core values that are so eloquently articulated in the Vision 2035 plan that are directly aligned with my personal values. These values are the reasons that I get up every day to do this work,” says Dr. Gary Waddell. “What a bold and inspiring vision for our youth! I am deeply grateful and enthused to support the SCUSD staff and community in service to children and youth over the coming year as we endeavor to live these values on a daily basis.”

To learn more about Dr. Gary Waddell, visit the superintendent’s bio webpage.

A Note on the Permanent Superintendent

For the next several months, we are focused on supporting Dr. Waddell in a successful launch for the 2022-2023 school year. The board will revisit discussions about the permanent superintendent search process this fall. During that time, we will hire an executive search firm that will engage the community for input as part of the process.

In the meantime, please join us in a warm welcome to Dr. Gary Waddell!


The Board of Trustees