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August 27, 2013 > Board appoints co-interim superintendents

Board appoints co-interim superintendents

Submitted By New Haven Board of Education

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Arlando Smith and Chief Business Officer Akur Varadarajan were appointed August 23rd to serve as co-interim superintendents of the New Haven Unified School District. The Board of Education, meeting in special session, made the appointments after Superintendent Kari McVeigh announced in June that she would depart the District during the 2013-14 school year.

"Dr. Smith and Mr. Varadarajan will provide us with stable and experienced leadership in the year ahead while the Board conducts the search process for a new permanent superintendent," Board President Linda Canlas said.

With the school year starting Wednesday, the Board took action "because of the importance of the implementation of the Race to the Top grant and District continuity," Ms. Canlas said. Dr. Smith and Mr. Varadarajan have been working together to implement the federal RTTT grant that was awarded the District last December. The District is receiving more than $29 million over four-and-a-half years, to personalize student learning, improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare all students to succeed in college and careers.

"Making certain that RTTT continues to be properly implemented throughout the 2013-2014 school year is crucial to the District right now, and the Board is very confident that Dr. Smith and Mr. Varadarajan will get that done," Ms. Canlas said.

Dr. Smith, who became Chief Academic Officer in June 2012, is a former assistant professor of educational leadership and administration at San Jose State University, and also served as an adjunct professor of educational leadership and leadership development at St. Mary's College. He previously taught at John F. Kennedy University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as at the New Teacher Center at UC-Santa Cruz and at Cal State-Fullerton. He earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Organizational Management at the University of La Verne in 2005.

Dr. Smith spent seven years as principal of Gunderson High School in San Jose and two years as principal of Graham Middle School in Mountain View before being named coordinator of academic improvement for the Gilroy Unified School District. He has served as a school reform facilitator for both West Ed and for the Stanford School Redesign Network. Dr. Smith began his career as a social studies teacher at Gladstone High in the Azusa Unified School District, where he also served as department chair and activities director and coached football and basketball.

Mr. Varadarajan became Chief Business Officer in April 2010 after three years as Assistant Superintendent of Business Services for the Salinas City Elementary School District. Mr. Varadarajan started his career in New York City, working first for the Department of Finance and the Office of Management and Budget and later for the Board of Education. He came to the Bay Area in March 1997, joining the San Francisco Unified School District, where he spent seven years, the last three as Director of Purchasing. In September 2004, he joined the Ravenswood City School District as the Chief Business and Operating Officer.

A native of India, Mr. Varadarajan was educated at the University of Madras, with a Masters degree in commerce, and he also completed extensive professional training for chief business officials offered and designed by FCMAT (Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team) and CASBO (California Association of School Business Officials).

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