Natomas Unified Hires New Superintendent

BY BRANDY TUZON BOYD

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
The Natomas Unified School District’s six-month search for a new superintendent ended tonight, March 27.

School board members by a vote of 5-0 unanimously approved a three-year contract with Christopher “Chris” Evans to lead the district effective June 1. Evans will be paid a base salary of $176,000 per year.

Chris stood out, he had two things we were looking for: experience and a successful track record,” board member Jules Tran said. “I think Chris is going to take us to the next level where we need to go.”

Evans, 41, currently works as associate superintendent for school leadership in the the Fresno Unified School District – the 4th largest school district in the state of California. He is married with three school-age children and strong roots in Sacramento.

I’m extremely excited to begin in Natomas as their next superintendent,” Evans said in a statement released by the school district. “My top priorities include creating a collaborative culture that believes all students can learn; establishing programs that meet the needs of all students; and closing the achievement gap.”

Evans, a Sacramento State University graduate, began his career more than 20 years ago as a classified employee. He went on to become a middle school and high school teacher, athletic director and coach, site administrator and district leader.

Prior to working at Fresno Unified, Evans worked as vice-principal and then principal at Valley High School in Elk Grove.

Evans is credited with helping lead Valley High’s transformation from the second-worst high school in Sacramento County to being selected as one of six schools to “beat the odds” by The California Dropout Research Project and earning a mention in the Newsweek list of best U.S. high schools.

In 2007, Evans testified before California’s Senate Select Committee on High School Graduation about Valley High’s progress and track record – raising graduation rates, academic performance and school performance.

Valley’s success is a combination of a variety of strategies and beliefs that focus on faith in students and staff, the re-allocation of resources to support efforts, high expectations, hard work and a focus on closing the implementation gap by making ideas into realities,” Evans testified.

In Fresno, Evans has had a hand in intervention programs – such as mandatory summer school – for low-performing middle school and high school students. Last year, more Fresno Unified sophomores passed both the English and math sections of the high school exit exam compared to the year before.

The Fresno Unified School District has one of the highest poverty levels in the nation. The district is made up of approximately 84 percent Hispanic students, and 70 percent of their parents speak only Spanish in the home.

We had a rich and diverse candidate pool,” school board member Bruce Roberts said. “To me Chris was head and shoulders above the rest.”

In September 2011, the Natomas Unified School District hired Leadership Associates to conduct a nationwide search for and screen superintendent candidates. The school board earlier this month interviewed candidates, in closed session, over a two-day period. Board president Lisa Kaplan and Teri Burns also visited Evans in Fresno.

The school district’s plans are to introduce Evans at the April 11 school board meeting and, at a later date, hold a community event where area residents can also meet the new superintendent.


Said Kaplan, “During our site visit, I knew we had made the right choice.”
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