Eugene 4J Superintendent Gustavo Balderas won National Superintendent of the Year last night at the National Conference on Education in San Diego. He is the first Latino to receive the honor.
Balderas says if he were a betting man, his money would have been on the other finalists. He was stunned to win and say’s its humbling, but a recognition of all the hard work happening in Eugene.
He feels his win is due in part to his positive experience in Oregon’s public education system.
“Being so kid focused and being kid centered in every district I’ve worked in. And that’s made a difference in terms of how it’s shaped me by understanding the appropriate educational systems to make a difference for kids to close the achievement and opportunity gaps that are persistent, especially for our most marginalized kids.”
Board chair Anne Marie Levis says Balderas came into his role at the district in 2015 with a goal to create relationships on all levels. She credits 4J’s improvements and Balderas’ win to his leadership, innovation and systematic approach to education.
Levis says winning this award is reinforcement 4J is moving in the right direction.
“For the progress that 4J has made under his leadership and for this national recognition of the ground breaking and innovative work that he’s leading for our district.”
Levis says with Balderas at the helm, 4J is poised to do great things.
Balderas says he wants to be known for implementing systems that make a sustainable difference for Eugene’s students.
Full disclosure: Aubrey Bulkeley is an educational assistant for an after school program at 4J.