Randolph E. Ward, Ed. D.
State Administrator


SACRAMENTO – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell today [June 2, 2003] appointed Randolph E. Ward, Ed.D. to serve as state administrator for the Oakland Unified School District. 

            Last week the state Legislature passed an emergency $100 million loan for the insolvent Oakland district, leading to state control of the 48,000-student school system and Dr. Ward’s appointment.  Dr. Ward will come to Oakland directly from Compton Unified School District where he currently serves as the state trustee.

            "After an exhaustive search and extensive consultation, I am confident we have found the perfect person to fill this critical role," said O’Connell.  "Dr. Ward’s experience and record of success make him the ideal person for this position.  He will strike the appropriate balance between maintaining focus on student achievement and ensuring the district’s financial ship is righted and the taxpayers of California are repaid." 

            Dr. Ward will work with the state’s independent Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) to review the troubled district’s financial management practices and begin the process of restoring it to fiscal solvency.  He will have full authority and responsibility for district decisions, including leases, contracts, collective bargaining, curriculum, and operations.  The district will remain under state control until state officials agree the district’s financial health has been restored.

            "I am humbled by this important opportunity," said Dr. Ward.  "While I am under no illusions about the complexity of raising academic achievement for Oakland’s students and restoring the district to fiscal health, I undertake the challenge with great optimism that we will soon reach a day when the quality of Oakland’s schools reflects the commitment this community brings to them."

            "Throughout the process of choosing an administrator," continued O’Connell, "I had the opportunity to meet with a number of community groups and organizations in Oakland. What I took

away from those meetings was a deep passion for the schools and concern about improving the lives of

Oakland’s 48,000 students.  So I appoint Dr. Ward with great confidence that with his experience and proven leadership, the dedicated community of Oakland will work with us toward a common goal that will serve school children well."

In 1993, Compton Unified became the nation’s first school district placed under state receivership for both academic and financial bankruptcy.  Dr. Ward served as administrator of Compton Unified from November 1996 until December 2001 when he was transitioned into the role of trustee.

            Since the state takeover of Compton, school facilities have improved, the district’s first new school in 30 years was built, the school environment became safer, test scores increased dramatically and the district rid itself of debt: 

  • School facilities are well maintained and almost all school sites are operating at an "A" or "B" rating, as determined by an independent rating agency.
  • Campuses have seen a 66 percent reduction in property crime alone. 
  • In 2002, 84 percent of the schools in Compton Unified improved on their Academic Performance Index (API) and 62 percent met their API growth target.  The average class size has decreased by 12 percent since 1998 and the student to CD ROM computer ratio has increased by 95 percent.  The percentage of African American males graduating from Compton high schools today with the required courses to attend UC/CSU is above the state average. 
  • According to an ACLU report, "Test scores in Language, Reading and Math for our elementary and middle schoolchildren…are up 200 percent since 1998."
  • In June 2001, just five years after Ward’s appointment and eight years after receiving its bankruptcy loan, Compton completely paid off its debt to the state. 

            Dr. Ward has an extensive academic background.  He has spent more than 25 years as an educator in numerous capacities, starting out as a preschool teacher and working his way up to the university level.  He received his undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from Tufts University; a master’s degree in School Leadership from Harvard University; a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of Massachusetts; and a Doctorate of Education in Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Southern California.

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Randolph E. Ward


News + Highlights
SB39 - District's  $100 Million Loan Bill Status Is Law

Governor Gray Davis has signed into law SB 39.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has appointed Randolph Ward, Ed.D., as State Administrator of the District.  Dr. Ward formerly served in the same capacity in the Compton Unified School District.



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