Superintendent Dr. Janet Young Retires This Year

Gracie McKesson, Editor-In-Chief

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After almost 40 years with the Clovis Unified School District, Superintendent Dr. Janet Young is stepping down from her position and retiring from the district.

Following her various positions held during her nearly four decade long tenure, Young has assumed the position of superintendent for six years.

Concerning the reason behind her decision to retire, Young realized the interest as the “million dollar question.”

Stated simply, Young said, “I think it’s time.”

“I really believe that we have an educational team that’s committed to the core values, the high standards, the culture that was gifted to us by the great Dr. Floyd B. Buchanan. It served us well for 57 years, our core values, and I believe it will serve us well into the future,” Young said.   “As a result, I feel like the next leadership team is going to be able take Clovis Unified to even greater heights and excellence.”

Entering the educational field in 1979, Young began her career in Clovis as a 23-years-old first grade teacher at Tarpey Elementary School.

With both parents in education, teaching for Young was “in the family” and was then something she never saw herself departing from.

“When I taught I loved it, and I didn’t envision myself doing anything else besides teaching, honestly,” said Young.

Nevertheless, Young rose through the ranks, transitioning from teacher to Learning Director at Clovis West High School, to Principal at Fort Washington Elementary, to Associate Superintendent of Human Resources, and finally to superintendent.

For Young, it was the support and “tapping of her shoulders” by individuals she looked up to that motivated her to first seek higher positions of administration.

“It was the encouragement of the mentors in my life here in the Clovis Unified School District that made me think well, ‘Maybe I can make a broader difference in the lives of kids by helping teachers and classified employees reach out and help kids,’” Young said.

When Young was hired as superintendent six years ago, she assumed the role as the first female to do so, a historic fact Young has recognized herself as well as its outwards effect on the community.

“I’m honored to have been selected by the governing board to serve in this very important role and I am humbled by this,” said Young,  “And certainly being the first female superintendent, I am hearing now – as I’m getting close to my retirement – that I’ve had a number of people come up to me, female students and colleagues and community members, who have said that they have looked at me as a role model for them, and it touches my heart.”

Regardless of gender, Young said, “I do know that everybody has a different leadership style, and everybody needs to be themselves;  male or female, it doesn’t matter –  just that leader needs to be him or herself and lead with her heart and that’s what people gravitate to.”

Concerning her time leading the district as superintendent, Young shared her personal hope for the community she has been so involved in for 38 years:

“I hope that people see me as someone that they’ve been able to trust –  that I care about their kids, and I care about them, and I care about their families,” said Young.

Once holding her position, and over the six years of her leadership over the district, Young explained the challenges faced and victories met by the district during the span of her superintendency.

“Over the course of the past six plus years, there’s been a lot of change in the world around us, much less in the field of education, and as a result of that it was a time that educators were challenged with new funding formula, new state standards, societal issues, and the great recession that impacted budget,” said Young.

“And during all of those years when we had those challenges, what I’m just most proud of is that our educational team stuck to the core values that [ Dr. Floyd B. “Doc” Buchanan]  laid the foundation for and embedded in us, and that he always said, Our philosophy is very simple: ‘A fair break for every kid,’ – and he didn’t say some kids or a few kids, he said every kid,” Young added.

And through these challenges, Young expressed how she is proud of the fact that despite these, the district has “managed to put kids first and families first.”

“We developed our district wide strategic plan and aim number one of our strategic plan says, ‘Maximize achievements for all students,’ and all means all,” said Young.

Although years have passed, and times have changed, Young said the characteristics that drew her to Clovis Unified still apply today and even more so as the district is “better and stronger than ever.”

Speaking highly of Clovis’ “high standards” and the philosophy of “be the best you can be in mind, body, and spirit,” she described these aspects of the school district as a “match for [her] values.”

Young also spoke of her admiration for the Clovis Unified’s strong co-curricular programs, which she said allows the district to try and, “give students opportunities so they can be happy, and productive, and joyful in life.”

“Doc always said that our responsibility, our charge, is: “To provide a private school education in a public school setting,” –  so in other words, let’s offer opportunities to students to find out what they love to do,” said Young.

Even facing economic challenges, Young expressed her pride in the fact that, “we’re one of the few school districts that even in the economic downturn, did not cut any programs for students.”

“All of our co-curricular program remained and they continue to be  enhanced,” said Young, “That’s something the next superintendent and the governing board and leadership team will be working very hard to ensure that kids are the highest priority with our district budget and that programs will continue and continue to be expanded.”

As Young leaves her office and a new superintendent is selected, Young said that a growing school district will be both a “challenge” and an “opportunity”for Clovis Unified in upcoming years.

Young said the district is looking at land purchases, the addition of one or possibly two elementary schools, and land has already been purchased for a new educational center, named the Bradley Center.

With her retirement announced and the position of superintendent posted, Young’s contract will end June 30. As of now, the application period for the position has concluded and the upcoming step in the process of selecting Young’s successor is the panel interview for the candidates on May 23. District employees, parents, and community members make up the panel that will recommend Young’s successor.

Following this, the governing school board will determine candidates to interview, and according to Young, this interviewing process “will be taking place over the course of the next couple weeks.”

As her nearly 40 year tenure with the district comes to a close, Young said, “After retirement I will be looking forward to watching the district soar to even greater heights of excellence – I am 100% confident of this.”

“I’ll always be Clovis Unified’s number one cheerleader,” said Young.


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1 Comment

One Response to “Superintendent Dr. Janet Young Retires This Year”

  1. Annie Tremp on May 24th, 2017 3:18 pm

    Awesome job on this story Gracie. Best wishes to Ms . Young.


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Superintendent Dr. Janet Young Retires This Year