Paul Gothold, a 25-year educator who has championed educational equity, will become the next San Diego County Superintendent of Schools. He will assume the post June 1.
The San Diego County Board of Education appointed Dr. Paul Gothold to the post on May 10. He succeeds Interim Superintendent Edward Velasquez, who has served in the role since August.
Dr. Gothold is currently superintendent of Lynwood Unified School District, a 15,000-student district in Los Angeles County recognized nationally this year for boosting Advanced Placement enrollment and exam passing rates.
"Dr. Gothold is a true leader who has demonstrated an ability to raise educational outcomes and overall student success for not just some students, but for students at all levels," San Diego County Board of Education President Rick Shea said. "San Diego schools are some of the strongest in the nation. We also have some of the toughest challenges. With Paul at the helm, we anticipate increased academic opportunities for the students we serve, and deeper collaboration with our partner districts to further elevate achievement for our more than 500,000 students across San Diego County."
Led by the San Diego County superintendent of schools, the San Diego County Office of Education provides 42 school districts with financial oversight and curricular and professional development support, in addition to developing countywide educational initiatives. The organization also educates 10,000 of the county's most vulnerable students through its Juvenile Court and Community Schools program.
"I am honored and thankful for the San Diego County Board of Education's faith in me to serve the schools, educators, and students of San Diego County," Gothold said. "It has been my life's mission to ensure every child has the opportunity and the skills necessary to excel so they may achieve their college, career, and life goals. I am eager to begin working with our school district partners and with our employees to continue the county's positive efforts to achieve educational success for all."
Dr. Gothold began his career with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, working with adjudicated youth in the county's Division of Alternative Education as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal. He later worked in the county's Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program, mentoring new teachers, authoring curricula, and training educators in instructional strategies and ways to integrate technology with content standards.
He then worked at Montebello Unified School District as Director of Secondary Education, where he fostered a professional environment that supported increased academic performance, improved attendance, and integrated interventions into the district's core curriculum. There, he also worked for more than two years to create the Applied Technology Center, a non-traditional high school that touted five career education academies, fully integrated with core academics.
Dr. Gothold then joined Lynwood Unified as the Chief Academic Officer, and in 2013 he was named district superintendent. Lynwood Unified serves a student population that is 96 percent students of color, with more than 94 percent of students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunches. He crafted a comprehensive professional development plan for all teachers and administrators to improve the district's instructional program and initiated the Achieving Greatness Strategic Plan, which focused on making systemic changes to improve student outcomes.
His collaborative work with the Lynwood Unified Board of Education, teachers, staff, parents, and community has resulted in dramatic increases in student achievement. This year, the district is one of three in the nation – and the only one in California – to be selected as a 2017 AP District of the Year for simultaneously and continuously raising the number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) classes and improving passing rates on AP exams.
Since 2010-11, the graduation rates at both Lynwood comprehensive high schools have increased by more than 23 percentage points, with a current rate of 93 percent. The district has created more advanced placement courses, career technical pathways, and support programs to ensure that students succeed in college and career.