RIVERSIDE – After 42 years of service in public education, Dr. Judy D. White announced her retirement from her role as Riverside County’s 12th Superintendent of Schools effective Nov. 1.
“When I was a young girl, teachers and educators helped me believe that I could accomplish great things and encouraged me to develop my voice. Over the last four decades, I have enjoyed listening to the voices of our students and helping them find theirs – an essential role that educators play in the lives of students and something I will continue to practice within our community,” Judy White, Ph.D., Riverside County superintendent of schools, said. “I inherited a great organization at RCOE when I was appointed in 2017, and I expect that momentum to continue with the next county superintendent who will take the lead in serving our students and educators in a pivotal point in history for our public schools.”
White will transition into and focus on her nonprofit organization, MOSAIC – Multicultural, Optimistic, Support, Aspiring, Inspiring, Called – which is aimed at addressing equity and justice issues within the community. In addition, she intends to spend more time with her church family and her extended family, including her recently born 10th grandchild. She will also be the first Senior Fellow to join the team of the Leading with Empathy Lab. The mission of the Leading with Empathy Lab is to learn and share common stories and lessons from the history of freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad and beyond. In addition, this lab will be a clearinghouse of ideas centered on empathy to increase equity in the community.
After being appointed as Riverside County superintendent of schools in January 2017 and subsequently elected by voters in 2018, White led Riverside County school districts and the Riverside County Office of Education to deepen their focus on equity, graduation rates, college/career readiness, civic engagement and servant leadership.
The high school graduation rate rose to 90.1%, representing the highest rate in county history, and the highest rate among the largest counties in California. Initiatives and programs were launched to increase the college-going rate, enhance access to financial aid, reduce chronic absences, and establish a robust countywide visual and performing arts offering.
Uniting schools, businesses, places of worship, nonprofits and government leaders was the purpose of the first Unity Conference held in 2018. The Student Unity Conference held in 2019 attracted hundreds of high school students to develop leadership skills and exercise their voice to shape their future.
The Adopt-A-School program connected more than 1,900 local businesses and community organizations with more than 300 schools to provide everything from school supplies and student awards to computers and scholarships for field trips.
More than 1,000 interns were connected with employers for on-the-job experience and training including career and technical positions at local businesses, government offices and at the Riverside County Office of Education.
The Million Deliberate Acts of Kindness campaign was launched to promote and inspire a positive school culture and healthy communities throughout Riverside County.
“All For One,” bridging the digital divide, secured more than $10 million in funding to provide computers, tablets, and mobile hot spot devices to students and families to ensure consistent access to distance learning.
White started her K-12 educational career as a classified staff member assisting the principal at San Bernardino High School. She earned her teaching credential and taught in multiple settings within the San Bernardino City Unified School District. She has served as a principal, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent within SBCUSD before being selected in 2011 as the superintendent of the Moreno Valley Unified School District. During her six years working with the 3,400 employees and 33,000 students at MVUSD, White increased graduation rates in Riverside County’s third largest district by 20.5% while leading the district to notable achievements and awards on a county, state and national level. She earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Occidental College, a master’s degree in education from California State University San Bernardino and a doctorate in educational leadership from Azusa Pacific University. She is a resident of Beaumont.
The elected Riverside County superintendent of schools serves as both the CEO of the Riverside County Office of Education and the superintendent of schools for the county’s preschool through 12th grade segment of that system – the fourth largest in the state. The county superintendent leads the more than 1,700 employees at RCOE in working with each of the county’s 430,000 students, almost 18,000 classrooms, 515 schools and 23 school districts to help ensure all students receive a high quality education, graduate from high school well prepared for college, the workforce and civic responsibility.
Submitted by the Riverside County Office of Education.