RIPON – After five years with the Ripon Unified School District, Superintendent Louise Johnson is stepping down from her leadership post.
She’ll be moving on to the Nevada Union High School District as its next Superintendent of Schools. In a letter addressed July 3 to RUSD, Johnson expressed with deep gratitude her difficult decision.
She cherished her time in Ripon, she noted.
“Together we have endured the great recession,” Johnson said. “We have done it in a spirit of one district, one community, lending a hand and helping each other along the way.”
Johnson, who is on vacation, was unavailable for comment.
Upon her return, she’s scheduled to work closely with the school board during the transition. Board President Donna Parks will keep the public informed on the process going forward, according to Johnson.
“I appreciate the experiences we have had together and the friendships I have formed in RUSD and throughout the community,” she said. “Ripon will live on in my heart for the rest of my life and I know I will never be a stranger here.”
Johnson lauded staff and community members for pitching in as volunteers throughout the recession to keep the sports programs and other student programs active and going forward. She added that parents raised funds for classroom supplies, field trips and technology for the school sites.
She said that police chief Richard Bull would commiserate with her about the tough places they had come from and how lucky they were to be in Ripon. “The support of the Ripon Police Department and the Ripon Fire Department (given) to the Ripon Unified School District is beyond measure in responsiveness, leadership and friendship,” she said.
The superintendent said one of her “most precious memories” during her five years in Ripon will always be giving a dictionary to each third grade student in Ripon through a Ripon Rotary Club program . Yet, another precious moment was when retired police chief Harvey Douma talked to the high school Academic Decathlon students about his first-hand experience living through the Great Depression in 1930 as a Ripon resident.
Johnson’s decision to move on included “the opportunity to lead a geographically vast, high achieving community-wide high school district,” she said.
The Nevada Union High School District services the communities of western Nevada County and the rural outlying areas.
“With the shift to common core as well as the new state funding formula, this district is the perfect match for my background and experience as a high school educator,” Johnson said. “I look forward to serving them and working together to assure that each student graduates from high school prepared for a future of his or her choosing.”
The change, she added, will provide her the opportunity to be with her husband, Jeff, on a full-time basis.
Among the last of her accomplishments at RUSD was the success of the voter-approved Measure G. This $25.2 million bond measure will not only update technology but will modernized Weston and Colony Oak schools.