New OUSD superintendent has experience turning around troubled school districts

“The Orange Unified School District board Tuesday night approved the hiring of Renae Dreier as the new superintendent,” according to the O.C. Register. Dreier was in charge of a school district in Greeley, Colorado. She will be paid $250,000 a year for the next three years.

“Dreier has a doctorate in educational leadership from USC and a master’s degree in history from San Francisco State University.” Compare her education to that of Santa Ana Unified School District Superintendent Jane Russo, who does not have a doctorate in education but is paid at least as much as Dreier, if not more.  And Russo’s SAUSD web page doesn’t disclose anything about her education.

Clearly the Orange Unified School District conducted a REAL national search for their new Superintendent. The SAUSD went through the motions a couple of years ago only to hire Russo, who has been an assistant under former Superintendent Al Mijares.

The OUSD does include parts of Santa Ana in addition to Orange and Anaheim Hills. Lucky are those Santa Ana residents who are on the OUSD side of the city.

But all is not well in the OUSD: “Orange Unified faces having to slash its budget during the next three years by as much as $39 million,” according to the O.C. Register. The SAUSD also had to slash its budget, mostly by firing classified instructional aides, in order to make up their massive budget deficit.

Dreier apparently did a good job in Greeley, “There’s no question that Renae Dreier has been controversial in her brief tenure as Greeley-Evans School District 6’s superintendent,” according to an editorial in the Greeley Tribune. But Dreier was maligned by some for failing to garner full support from the community and some teachers who refused to change.

Interestingly, Dreier turned her district around. “Earlier this year, District 6 was removed from the academic watch list.” Wouldn’t that sort of experience have been useful in the SAUSD? Russo has not been able to turn around her district. There is a concern amongst many parents and teachers that the SAUSD is headed for a state takeover. I don’t think Russo was up to the task when she was hired – and working with a lame school board hasn’t helped.

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