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MUSD student services director retires

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POSTED July 30, 2009 1:45 a.m.

Tuesday’s Manteca Unified School District meeting was the last for John McKillip in the role of senior director of student services and special education.

He’s retiring at the end of this week, wrapping up a 40-year career in education that includes school districts in Sacramento, Coalinga and Fresno.
“I must have attended well over 400 school board meetings just in Manteca Unified,” McKillip said at the conclusion of the open session.
Plans call for his responsibilities to be divvied up between senior director of elementary education Cheryl Meeker, senior director of secondary education Clara Schmiedt, and senior director of student service / special education Roger Goatcher.

McKillip came to Manteca Unified in 1990 to direct the technology and testing department. But the newcomer made his mark by creating a computerized online report card and student assessment tracking system for kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students.
He was also an early adopter of technology, with being his brainchild.

In 2004, McKillip was named director of elementary education instruction. His duties included focusing on the education of seventh- and eighth-grade students within the district.

In addition, he helped initiate the district’s data review process that quickly developed into teachers and principals analyzing student educational data and implementing the results. The quantitative approach had a direct impact on improving instruction district-wide with key measurable results. Currently, all of the elementary schools are scoring above 700 on the STAR Testing Index (800 is the benchmark).

In 2007, McKillip was elevated to his current post that also put in charge of Child Welfare and Attendance, health services, and state and federal programs. And with budget shortfalls occurring in the State of California, he initiated a review of the Special Education Department – McKillip began a restructuring process that has changed the focus of managing special education students by making teachers the case managers in supporting the progress of their students.

 “I can leave, knowing our children and grandchildren will become educated and productive citizens in this society,” he said.

McKillip and his wife, Patricia Glock-McKillip, former teacher and vice principal at New Haven and Golden West, plan to split their time between homes in Manteca and Clearlake.

 An avid golfer, he’s excited to have the extra time to work on his game. McKillip also plays to cross out items on his “honey-do” home repair list while continuing to play Santa at the McParland Annex, where his daughter teaches.

He and his wife are looking forward to travelling to New York City – they have a daughter and granddaughter there – and Fresno, home to another daughter, son and grandchildren.

Fittingly, the board meeting ended with President Michael Seelye acknowledging McKillip for his years of service.

To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail

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