On Thursday, June 2, WCCUSD announced Matthew Duffy as the sole finalist to fill the role of our district’s next superintendent. Check out the article below from the East Bay Times to learn more about Duffy’s experiences serving students in Milpitas and Oakland Unified School Districts, and hear what our Executive Director Natalie Walchuk had to say about the board’s selection.
We look forward to keeping our community informed about next steps in the process and ways to engage with our new superintendent.
West Contra Costa: Schools chief finalist named
RICHMOND — After months of searching, the West Contra Costa Unified School District board has chosen a finalist for the soon-to-be-open superintendent’s post.
Matthew Duffy, who has served as the assistant superintendent for educational services in Milpitas for the past three years, was selected to replace Bruce Harter, who plans to retire June 30 after serving at the district’s helm for 10 years.
The board is scheduled to vote on Duffy’s hiring at its June 15 meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at DeJean Middle School.
“His past experience indicates that he is someone who knows our communities and he cares a lot about the success of everybody in all the different roles a superintendent has to take,” said board President Randy Enos. “He’ll be good with all our constituencies, and he’s got a whole lot of enthusiasm in working with our students.”
In his role at Milpitas, he is responsible for the pre-K-12 instructional program for more than 10,000 students, as well as for providing leadership in the district’s enrollment, technology, special education and Local Control Accountability Plan development. Key Duffy accomplishments include creating a new dual language immersion school, significantly increasing professional learning opportunities for all staff and expanding the district’s music program each year, the West Contra Costa district said.
Duffy, if selected, will be taking over at a time when demands for increased accountability and transparency are mounting in the community. When Harter announced his decision to retire, he said it was due to lingering controversy over his service relating to the bond program and that he didn’t want it to impede the district’s chances of renewing its current parcel tax in the November election.
Allegations of financial mismanagement by whistle-blower Dennis Clay, a former program analyst at the district, triggered a grand jury investigation last year. Also the results of a forensic audit, which was undertaken in recent months to root out potential waste, fraud, abuse or financial irregularity of its $1.6 billion school construction bond program, is still pending.
Duffy said he was not daunted by these issues and was well aware of what he faces.
“The challenges of finances, bonds and charters and others are indeed that — challenges,” he said Thursday. “But they are also opportunities for building a stronger district, and I’m excited to lead through the challenges and opportunities, and that’s what I’m coming to the district for.
Duffy said he will focus on “stronger financial responsibility, bond delivery and stronger educational outcomes for students.”
“And I would just say that I’ll work to make sure my leadership and work is as transparent as possible,” he added.
Before working at Milpitas, Duffy was a senior executive director for New Leaders for New Schools, a national nonprofit organization that develops and trains school administrators. He also was an Oakland Unified School District administrator for nine years, starting as principal of Elmhurst Middle School in 2003.
In 2006, Duffy became the founding principal of Elmhurst Community Prep Middle School, a small middle school in East Oakland. According to a news release from the West Contra Costa district, the school during Duffy’s tenure had the highest Academic Performance Index for African-American students in Oakland Unified, as well as strong annual gains on the California Standards Test. He was promoted to regional superintendent at Oakland Unified in 2009, supervising 15 middle and high schools.
Anton Jungherr, a member of the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee, said he thought Duffy was “an excellent choice.”
“I think that the Board of Education listened to the concerns expressed by the community,” regarding their desired qualifications for a superintendent, he said.
And Natalie Walchuk, executive director of Go Public Schools West Contra Costa, agreed.
“He’s the real deal — a lifelong educator with a record of deep commitment to ensuring all kids get a great education especially in communities of color,” she said. “The board has clearly heard the desire for a new direction among so many families and educators here.”
Duffy lives in Oakland with his wife, Tamara, and two sons. Once the board votes he is expected to begin work in early July.