Dr. Sarah Koligian named finalist in superintendent search
Tulare high school district superintendent, veteran educator expected to be appointed May 4
The Folsom Cordova Unified School District Board of Education has selected a finalist in its search for the district’s next superintendent: Dr. Sarah Koligian, superintendent of the Tulare Joint Union High School District and a veteran educator with 30 years of experience supporting student achievement.
Final contract negotiations are underway, and it is anticipated that the Board will ratify Dr. Koligian’s appointment May 4, its next regular meeting. Current superintendent Deborah Bettencourt, who announced her retirement earlier this year, will remain at the helm full-time until June 30, 2017.
“I am deeply honored and excited to be joining the Folsom Cordova Unified School District family as their next superintendent. I am committed to building upon the rich traditions and culture that support student excellence,” Dr. Koligian said. “I look forward to working collaboratively with the Board of Education, employees, students, parents, and community to lead the District to continued student success and achievement. I thank the Board of Education for this opportunity.”
The Board of Education made its decision with input gathered from parents, employees, community members, and other key stakeholder groups who indicated they are seeking a superintendent who is collaborative, who has a record of success as an educational leader, and who will be committed to the District’s mission, vision, core values, and community. The Board considered 22 internal and external candidates and, after a rigorous screening and series of interviews April 22-23, chose Dr. Koligian as the best fit for our schools.
“The board is excited to welcome Dr. Koligian as our District’s next superintendent,” said Board of Education President Zak Ford. “She understands the diverse needs of our District, and her extensive K-12 experience as both a teacher and administrator will serve us well at all levels. As both a District Board member and as a District parent, I am thrilled that Dr. Koligian will be joining us.”
Koligian, 55, began her teaching career as a resource teacher at Madison Elementary School in Fresno’s Central Unified School District, where she supported English learners whose primary languages were Spanish, Hmong, and Punjabi. During her 20 years at Central Unified, she held several leadership positions including Associate Superintendent of Educational Services and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. In 2007, she was named superintendent of the Golden Valley Unified School District in nearby Madera County.
Dr. Koligian has been the superintendent of Tulare Joint Union High School District since 2011. The Tulare County district serves more than 5,400 students and has eight schools, including three comprehensive high schools. During her tenure, she started the Education Foundation for Tulare High School District supporting the district’s Four A’s: Academics, Agriculture, Arts, and Athletics. Under her leadership, the district has earned three Golden Bell awards from the California School Boards Association (CSBA) for their health careers in education, agriculture education, and “Harvesting Hope” community campaign. Additionally, the district has implemented three Linked Learning academies in the areas of engineering, art, and pre-med. A new district charter high school opened in 2014 to offer blended, online learning opportunities, and a second charter high school for credit acceleration opened in August 2016.
Dr. Koligian was born and raised in the San Joaquin Valley. She earned her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at California State University, Fresno, including a Bachelor's in Business Administration, her teaching and administrative credentials, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.
She also is a graduate of the Association of California School Administrators’ (ACSA) Superintendent’s Academy, and has completed the CSBA’s Master’s in Governance Program. Organizations including CSBA, ACSA, the Madera County School Boards Association and others have invited her to speak at their professional development conferences, and she has been an adjunct professor at Fresno Pacific University teaching a Master’s level course in Curricular Leadership.
Her career includes multiple recognitions: ACSA Tulare Charter Superintendent of the Year; Honorary Portuguese-American of the Year; FFA Regional and California Star Administrator of the Year; ACSA Region 11 Marcus Foster Memorial award; ACSA Region 9 Superintendent of the Year nominee; and Administrator of the Year recipient for Curriculum and Instruction.
Dr. Koligian is a board member for the ACSA Tulare Charter and is currently the ACSA Region 11 state representative to the Superintendency Council, after previously serving on the Equity, Achievement, and Diversity Committee. She serves as President of the Tulare County Hispanic Leadership Network, Central Valley Education Coalition Board, and is co-chair of the Sequoia’s Adult Education Consortium Board.
Dr. Koligian and her husband Wayne, a retired teacher and coach, have been married more than 35 years and have been blessed with four grown children, a daughter-in-law and granddaughter. She is a member of the Greater Tulare Area Kiwanis Club and is a former elder of her church. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, recreational running, and the great outdoors.
The FCUSD Board was assisted by executive search firm Leadership Associates.