Randolph E. Ward, Ed. D.|
STATE SCHOOLS CHIEF O’CONNELL NAMES SEASONED
TO LEAD OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
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