National superintendent of the year to lead Edmonds schools

Gustavo Balderas, head of the Eugene School District in Oregon, is set to take the reins on July 1.

Gustavo Balderas

Gustavo Balderas

LYNNWOOD — The county’s largest school district has a new leader.

Following a public forum Monday, closed-door session Tuesday and vote Tuesday night, the Edmonds School District’s board selected Gustavo Balderas as the next superintendent. The head of the Eugene School District in Oregon is set to take the reins on July 1.

It has been an eventful three weeks for Balderas. He was named national superintendent of the year in February.

“Edmonds is an exceptional district with great students, staff, and schools,” he said in an emailed statement. “I look forward to getting to know the community and meeting with staff, students and families upon my arrival.”

Balderas will replace Kristine McDuffy, who announced her retirement in August.

Now, the district and Balderas will negotiate a contract, with a deal expected by the end of March or early April. His contract has to be approved by school board directors during a public meeting.

McDuffy’s current salary is $294,284.

The Edmonds School District serves more than 20,000 students across Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and parts of unincorporated Snohomish County.

Balderas is the child of migrant farm workers in eastern Oregon, according to a biography posted on the Eugene School District website. He developed a love of learning and passion for education in Oregon public schools, from kindergarten through his doctoral degree in educational leadership at the University of Oregon.

He started his career as a high school teacher and counselor in the Hillsboro School District after teaching briefly in Texas. He moved on to elementary and middle school administrative roles before becoming an executive director overseeing schools and coordinating district curriculum. He also served as an assistant superintendent in Hillsboro.

He then moved to California to serve as the superintendent of Madera Unified School District before becoming the superintendent of Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach. He moved back to Oregon to take the job in Eugene.

He was named the 2020 Oregon Superintendent of the Year last fall and national superintendent of the year in February.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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