People Watch

School Administrator, October 2015

BalderasGustavo M. Balderas
The 16,000-student Eugene, Ore., school district has welcomed Gustavo Balderas as its new superintendent. He assumes the role after three years atop the Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach, Calif., and one year as superintendent in Madera, Calif. An educator for 26 years, Balderas held several other upper-level administrative positions in Hillsboro, Ore. He is co-founder and past president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators. An AASA member since 2011, he received his doctorate from the University of Oregon.

PW2Ann N. Bonitatibus
After nearly 30 years in the 40,700-student Frederick County, Md., school district, most recently as chief operating officer, Ann Bonitatibus has been selected as superintendent of Conejo Valley Unified School District in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Bonitatibus previously was associate superintendent of secondary schools, director of high schools and principal, all in Frederick County since 1987. She holds an Ed.D. in organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and has been an AASA member since 2012.


PW3Chris M. Gaines
After serving seven years as superintendent of the Wright City, Mo., R-II School District, Chris Gaines is the new superintendent of the 11,000-student Mehlville School District in St. Louis, Mo. Previously, Gaines held the top post in the Crawford County R-1 School District in Bourbon, Mo., for seven years, after serving as its high school principal. He began his career as a math teacher and school bus driver in southeast Missouri. An AASA member since 2004 and member of the AASA Executive Committee, Gaines earned his Ed.D. from St. Louis University.


PW4Judith A. Johnson
Judith Johnson, an AASA member since 1992, has been appointed to the New York State Board of Regents for a five-year term. Johnson most recently worked as interim superintendent in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and superintendent in Peekskill, N.Y. She served as deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Richard Riley and later was appointed acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. Johnson was named New York State’s Superintendent of the Year in 2008.


SidelightWhen Dennis Carlson is recognized on the street in Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District, from which he retired as superintendent recently, it tends to be for his musical performances. “Where do I know you from?” he’s asked, and the answer is usually “from Anoka High School’s Symphonic Rock,” an annual benefit concert he headlined for five years, raising more than $170,000 for students in need. Or it might be for his playing on guitar and harmonica in Tiny Tim and the Naysayers, a local band he joined in the late ’80s and continues to play in. Carlson, who turns 68 this month, started singing as a boy in church choir. “Music is a great way to connect with kids and has been a wonderful release for me,” he says.


Robert Avossa, from superintendent, Fulton County Schools, Atlanta, Ga., to superintendent, West Palm Beach, Fla.
G.A. Buie
, from principal, Eudora High School, Eudora, Kan., to executive director, United School Administrators of Kansas, Topeka, Kan.
Pam Deering
, from superintendent, Mid-Del Schools, Midwest City, Okla., to executive director, Oklahoma Association of School Administrators, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Connie Hathorn
, from superintendent, Youngstown, Ohio, to superintendent, Watson Chapel School District, Pine Bluff, Ark.
Christine Johnson, from superintendent, Boonton Township, N.J., to superintendent, Hoboken, N.J.
Angela Lawrence
, from superintendent, Dighton, Kan., to superintendent, Russell, Kan.
Joanne Lelekatch
, from superintendent, East Detroit, Mich., to superintendent, Grosse Ile Township, Mich.
Ryan Owens
, from director of legislative services to co-executive director, Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, Oklahoma City, Okla.


Jo Barbie, superintendent, Valley RE-1 School District, Sterling, Colo.
Kathy Berry
, superintendent, Nowata, Okla.
Richard J. Hoffmann
, superintendent, Nauset Public Schools, Orleans, Mass.
Deborah Low
, superintendent, Ridgefield, Conn.
Jim Negri
, superintendent, Castro Valley, Calif.
Dave Pruneau
, superintendent, Elmhurst, Ill.
Rod Schroder
, superintendent, Amarillo, Texas
Daryl Sherman
, superintendent, Lake Mills, Iowa
Mark R. Tregaskes
, superintendent, Safford, Ariz.
Dwaine Uttecht
, superintendent, Ravenna, Neb.



Linton Deck, 86, retired superintendent, Fairfax County, Va., July 3
Richard Magnuson
, 73, retired superintendent, Sauk Prairie, Wis., April 13


Edgar Hatrick, retired superintendent, Loudoun County, Va., and AASA past president, elected board of directors chair, George C. Marshall International Center
Art Stellar
, AASA emeritus member, selected to lifetime membership in the honorary chapter of Kappa Delta Pi



News about AASA members’ promotions, retirements, honors and deaths should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Fax: 703-841-1543. E-mail: