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May 28th, 2014 by Arcadia Weekly
By SHEL SEGAL
David Vannasdall, the district’s deputy superintendent for the past two years, has been hired as the new superintendent of the Arcadia Unified School District at its Tuesday night board of education meeting.
Vannasdall will assume the new position on July 1. He is taking over for Joel Shawn, who is retiring after six years at the post.
Vannasdall said he is really pleased to have been offered the district’s top job.
“It’s an enormous honor,” he said. “I’ve been in the district for nine years. To be able to go into the superintendent position without going to another district – which is usually the case with these positions – I have an opportunity to build on all those relationships I’ve made over the last nine years.”
He added he is looking forward to working with Arcadia’s board over the next few years.
“It’s also a confirmation from the board on the work that’s been going on,” Vannasdall said. “It’s a very clear, decisive board. They know what they want and I think this is a confirmation. We’re on the right path and we’re just going to continue to grow.”
He also said he thinks he has his work cut out for him.
“Continuing to build relationships,” Vannasdall said of what he will be doing first. “Even though I’ve been in the district it would be easy to step into the office and continue on. But you have to recognize that it’s a different position. I need to give myself some time to go around the district and listen to the different groups that are represented.”
In addition, he said there are some challenges facing the district.
“I have a clear understanding of what’s working and what needs work on,” he said. “What’s working is our education is second to none in my mind. We need to continue to figure out some things that have come our way, like Common Core curriculum and the (Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium) testing.”
Vannasdall entered the field of education in 1992 after earning a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from University of Kentucky and came to Arcadia in 2005 when he became the principal of Arcadia High School. Under Vannasdall’s eight-year tenure at the high school the academic performance index increased by 80 points.
Currently studying for his doctorate at Azusa Pacific University, Vannasdall is married to a middle school teacher and has five children, three boys and two girls. He enjoys hiking, traveling, reading and riding his motorcycle.
(Shel Segal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be followed via Twitter @segallanded.)