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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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School

Stanislaus CountyCandidate for Superintendent of Schools

Photo of Scott Kuykendall

Scott Kuykendall

Assistant County Superintendent
73,479 votes (53.35%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Prepare students for the workforce
  • Increase high school and college graduation rates
  • Expand parent outreach programs to increase reading levels in our county

Experience

Experience

Profession:Assistant County Superintendent
Assistant County Superintendent, Stanislaus County Office of Education (2011–current)
Director of Secondary Education, Modesto City Schools (2006–2011)
Principal, Johansen High School (2005–2006)
Associate Principal, Johansen High School (2002–2005)
Assistant Principal, Elliott Alternative Education Center (2000–2002)

Education

Saint Mary's College of California Masters of Arts, Educational Leadership (2006)
Chapman University Single Subject Teaching Credential, Spanish and English as a Second Language (1994)
CSU Stanislaus Bachelor of Arts, Spanish (1994)

Biography

Stanislaus County is home. I was born in Patterson and grew up on a farm in Crows Landing where I learned the value of hard work and the merits of honesty and responsibility. I graduated from Orestimba High School in Newman and earned my BA in Spanish at CSU, Stanislaus. I earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from St. Mary’s College of California.  My family and the people in this county have shaped and encouraged me, and I have been honored to give back to my community as an educator, coach and mentor.  My wife Alison and I have been married for 17 years and our three sons attend Stanislaus County schools.

After studying Spanish in Spain and as a Fulbright Scholar in Venezuela, I began working with students at Gustine high school as a Spanish and English teacher. After teaching for five years I moved into administration.

During my 23 years in education, I have held a variety of jobs and titles. I’ve worked at a small high school, a large alternative education high school and served as principal at Johansen High School in Modesto. While at Modesto City Schools, I was the director of secondary education — responsible for all 15,000 junior high and high school students, as well as the many teachers and administrators at the school sites. Before leaving the district to work at the Stanislaus County Office of Education (SCOE), I oversaw all of the career technical education programs in the district, including FFA.

For the past seven years, I have worked at SCOE as the assistant superintendent of educational options. I oversee all SCOE schools, including the Stanislaus Military Academy, Valley Charter High School and Come Back Kids — a high school diploma program for high school dropouts. I am also responsible for the culinary arts program in Oakdale, the SCOE Preventions Department, YES Co., and the county Student Attendance Review Board.

I am reminded daily, with my own sons, that children’s interests and talents vary widely and it’s imperative that options are provided as they pursue college and careers. I have benefitted from the ability to speak Spanish and two of my sons are bilingual via participation in two-way immersion programs. I am a strong supporter of career technical education and skilled vocational training for those students who want to join the workforce and contribute to our community in careers that do not require a college education. I also encourage academic innovation in schools like the early college program at Valley Charter High School and online learning to allow students to work at their own pace.

I have always enjoyed teaching and working with students to help them overcome barriers to success. I have been privileged to support and celebrate the success of students who come from homes where English is not their first language, students who are teen mothers, and students who’ve struggled academically. I work with our most at-risk and vulnerable populations that include incarcerated youth, foster youth, homeless students, high school dropouts, and students who have been victims of human trafficking.

As assistant superintendent of educational options at the Stanislaus County Office of Education, I have had the opportunity to work directly with Tom Changnon, the current superintendent. Tom has been an excellent mentor who has exposed me to the many facets of the county office. Because of his leadership and the variety of experiences I’ve had in education, I feel prepared to lead the Office of Education and serve the people of Stanislaus County. Working together, we can increase the opportunity for success for all of our students.

Who supports this candidate?

Elected Officials (5)

  • Tom Changnon, Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools
  • Adam Christianson, Sheriff, Stanislaus County
  • Alice Pollard, Board Chairperson, Stanislaus County Office of Education
  • James Mousalimas, Superintendent, San Joaquin County Office of Education
  • Heath Flora, CA State Assembly 12th District

Political Beliefs

Position Papers

Vision

Summary

Closing the Gaps.

Educators often speak of “gaps” — typically referring to student performance on standardized tests. But I see bigger, overarching gaps that, if filled, address the academic problem and lift up the entire community. This is more than just a K-12 approach to education, but one that can be more accurately described as “cradle to career.” As Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools, my priorities would be to:

  • Increase the number of county residents with a high school diploma
  • Build a training center with the assistance and expertise of business leaders to provide job seekers with skills needed for the many, good-paying jobs that go unfilled.
  • Boost the number of college graduates to address shortages in fields including education and health care
  • Engage parents through effective outreach and help them prepare their children for school.

Vision

Summary

Closing the Gaps.

Educators often speak of “gaps” — typically referring to student performance on standardized tests. But I see bigger, overarching gaps that, if filled, address the academic problem and lift up the entire community. This is more than just a K-12 approach to education, but one that can be more accurately described as “cradle to career.” As Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools, my priorities would be to:

  • Increase the number of county residents with a high school diploma
  • Build a training center with the assistance and expertise of business leaders to provide job seekers with skills needed for the many, good-paying jobs that go unfilled.
  • Boost the number of college graduates to address shortages in fields including education and health care
  • Engage parents through effective outreach and help them prepare their children for school.

The School Readiness Gap

Summary

Closing the school readiness gap

 

The ability to read well by the end of third grade is one of the biggest indicators of future success — not only in school, but in life. There is a correlation between students lacking critical reading skills by third grade and the likelihood of dropping out. Unfortunately, many county students are not reading at grade level by the end of the third grade.

Kindergarten readiness plays a big role in determining success in the first years of school. There are a variety of reasons that kindergarten students, especially from low-income families, are often 12-14 months behind when starting school; among them, a lack of prenatal care and high-quality preschool. There also may be a myriad of transportation, health and housing problems contributing to chronic absenteeism. In addition, 61% of low-income families have no children’s books in the home. It is estimated that those children are exposed to significantly fewer words by their third birthdays. More needs to be done to educate parents on the importance of children’s health, the value of a vocabulary and book-enriched environment, and school attendance.

The Come Back Kids charter school at the County Office of Education soon will have a course for parenting students teaching elementary strategies of reading and interacting with their children to develop vocabulary and comprehension. SCOE is already a partner with Stanislaus READS! and is poised to expand parent outreach programs countywide.

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