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New school superintendent announced

After examining 52 resumes and more than 20 hours of intense interviews, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District has selected a new superintendent to replace former district head Pat Gemma.

Although the school board hasn’t officially approved the new hire, Tahoe Truckee Unified’s new superintendent, Dennis Williams, has signed a contract with the district and is expected to begin his superintendency immediately.

“I’m going to meet as many staff members and attend as many graduations as possible,” Williams said of his plans for the coming weeks. “That way when I come back in the fall, I won’t be introducing myself to everyone.”



Previously, Williams was superintendent of the Plumas Unified School District and the Plumas County Office of Education in Quincy, Calif., where he dealt with declining enrollment and many of the issues facing rural districts like Tahoe Truckee Unified.

“He’s very active,” said School Board President Pat Gibbons-Johnson. “That’s very important for rural political issues.”




Williams has also formed relationships with legislators, like Assemblyman Rick Keene, who also represents Plumas County, Gibbons-Johnson added.

He also sat on the Plumas Charter School advisory board.

“I was involved from the very beginning with the charter school at [Plumas Unified],” Williams said. “We worked through some difficult challenges. I am in support of charter schools. One size does not fit all.”

The new superintendent has 27 years of experience in education, as a superintendent for nine years and also as an elementary, junior high and high school principal.

Williams was one of three superintendents in single-district counties in California to have a dual post at the county and district level.

“Generally, he’s been there. He has a lot of experience,” Gibbons-Johnson said.

Williams announced he was going to leave his Plumas posts before the 2003-2004 school year, pending his resignation, to find work elsewhere.

“He’s someone who has chosen to work in our mountain communities,” said Kathleen Gauthier, principal at Glenshire Elementary School and a member of the district liaison council formed to select a superintendent. “I’m sure his experience with schools in Portola and Plumas County will be applicable to here.”

In the quest for a superintendent, Tahoe Truckee Unified drew one of the largest pools the California School Board Association – the district’s search consultants – had ever seen, with 52 applicants.

A district liaison council, composed of district employees, community members and parents, also gave input in the selection process.

Williams was selected after several rounds of interviews, which narrowed the final pool down to three candidates on May 17. The school board had an all-day tour of William’s former district May 21 and he signed a contract with the district May 23, stipulating a $135,000 salary.

“In general, he had a very good leadership quality,” Gibbons-Johnson said of what set Williams apart from the 52 other candidates.

Williams met with the school board and administrators from all district schools Tuesday. Over the next week, the new superintendent will make site visits at all district schools, including Prosser Creek Charter School.

The school board members will make the official vote to hire Williams at its June 4 board meeting.


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