New Haven Unified Appoints New Chief Academic Officer

New Haven Unified Appoints New Chief Academic Officer


Dr. Arlando Smith, a statewide leader in school district leadership who has worked with New Haven Unified teachers and principals for the past three years and was instrumental in the creation of the Union City Kids’ Zone, has accepted an offer to become the District’s Chief Academic Officer.

The appointment was approved Tuesday night by the Board of Education, which also approved the appointment of Nancy George, principal of the New Haven Adult School for the past eight years, as Executive Director of the Kids’ Zone. The appointments are effective July 1.

“Dr. Smith is a champion educator, someone who knows what’s best for students, both from his practical experience and because he has been on the cutting edge of inquiry and research,” Superintendent Kari McVeigh said. “And Nancy George, who has ties to so many of our Kids’ Zone families from her work with the Adult School and other programs that serve the Decoto neighborhood, is the perfect person to lead that effort.”

For the past three years, Dr. Smith has provided professional development for New Haven teachers and coaching for District principals. And for the past two years, he has served as facilitator for meetings of the Kids’ Zone, a consortium of agencies, organizations and service providers seeking to deliver cradle-to-career supports to the District’s most vulnerable students and their families.

As a result of those efforts, the Kids’ Zone has received two grants, worth a total of more than $780,000, to launch the effort. A $175,000 grant from Alameda County Health Services will offset Ms. George’s salary and help with additional start-up costs, including a comprehensive assets and needs assessment. And federal grants totaling $505,922 from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program will help provide before- and after-school academic and enrichment services for more than 350 students -- as well as summertime intervention and enrichment activities for 200 students – at the Kids’ Zone schools: Searles and Emanuele elementaries and Cesar Chavez Middle.

“Even while we struggle with budget cuts caused by the state, this is an exciting time for the New Haven Unified School District,” Superintendent McVeigh said, “and we are fortunate to be able to bring in a Chief Academic Officer who is already so familiar with both our challenges and our opportunities.

“Dr. Smith is a dynamic leader who already is well-liked and well-respected in the District,” the Superintendent continued, “and he is very familiar with our classroom emphasis on literacy and our district-wide focus on equity.”

An assistant professor of educational leadership and administration at San Jose State University since 2006, Dr. Smith also has served as an adjunct professor of educational leadership and leadership development at St. Mary’s College since 2007. He previously taught at both John F. Kennedy University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as at the New Teacher Center at UC-Santa Cruz and at Cal State-Fullerton.

Dr. Smith spent seven years as principal of Gunderson High School in San Jose and two years as principal of Graham Middle School in Mountain View prior to being named coordinator of academic improvement for the Gilroy Unified School District. He has served as a school reform facilitator for both West Ed and for the Stanford School Redesign Network.

A political science major, Dr. Smith received both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree from California State University, Fullerton. He began his career as a social studies teacher at Gladstone High in the Azusa Unified School District, where he also served as department chair and activities director and coached football and basketball.

Dr. Smith earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Organizational Management at the University of La Verne in 2005. He is married to Dr. Wendy Gudalewicz, who is leaving New Haven at the end of the month to become Superintendent of the Cupertino Union School District. The parents of five grown children, they live in San Jose.