A large group of new leaders—many first-time superintendents—has been installed in districts coast and coast in recent days, even though the new year is less than a month old.
The Boise School District in Idaho has promoted Deputy Superintendent Lisa Roberts to serve as the district’s first female leader, starting July 1. Roberts has worked in the 22,000-student district for 31 years, having been a teacher and principal. She has also served in multiple administrative roles. Roberts will replace Superintendent Coby Dennis, who is retiring at the end of the 2023-24 school year.
“As Boise School District’s first female superintendent, Lisa Roberts is a trailblazer and an inspiration to women everywhere,” Boise School Board President Dave Wagers said on the district’s website. “As a well-respected, well-qualified and deeply committed educational leader, Lisa Roberts has played an instrumental role in building on the successes of our public schools.”
Jennifer Burks will take the helm of the Solana Beach School District near San Diego on Feb. 15. Burks, another first-timer, is currently an associate superintendent in neighboring Poway USD, where she has overseen technology and instructional programs. Interim superintendent Travis Lightle has been appointed the permanent superintendent of Gretna Public Schools, after having worked at the Nebraska district since 2003.
In Pennsylvania, Yamil Sanchez Rivera has been chosen as the next leader of the Southeast Delco School District. Rivera, a first-time superintendent, is currently the assistant superintendent for operations in the Reading School District. In another promotion from within, the Van-Far R1 School District in Missouri has elevated its high school principal, Natalie Gibson, to the superintendency. Gibson has previous leadership experience in the Rall County R-II and Community R-IV school districts.
And in Alaska, Robyn Taylor, a principal in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, has been picked to lead the Petersburg School District. Taylor has also been an administrator in the Sitka School District, the Denali Borough School District and the Chatham School District, all in Alaska.
A lot more new leaders
- Michele Collier, Escambia County Schools (Alabama)
- Brandon Farris, Fremont County Joint School District #215 (Idaho)
- Mitch Kubicek, Milford Public Schools (Nebraska)
- Darin Landry, Fountain Lake School District (Arkansas)
- Keith Leonard, Escambia County Public Schools (Florida)
- Courtney Orzel, District 113A (Illinois)
- Danielle Shanley, Madison Public Schools (New Jersey)
- Jill VerBurg, Laker Schools (Michigan)