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Susan Salcido

Susan Salcido
Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools Candidate: Susan Salcido
Candidate NameSusan Salcido (*incumbent)
Position SoughtSanta Barbara County Superintendent of Schools
Website / Social
Why are you running for office?This is a pivotal moment in public education. Our schools need an experienced, knowledgeable leader who understands the intricacies of our countywide school system in our unique and diverse county. Coming through this pandemic together, we need compassion and focus. We need attention to academics and learning as well as support for wellness and motivation. We need leadership that shows students, parents, and staff, through our actions and intentions, that we are both responsive and proactive. As the County Superintendent of Schools - I will increase, deepen, and extend direct support for students, partner closely with our districts and external regional agencies, and advocate on behalf of all children and our schools.
What makes you qualified for the job?With over 40 years in Santa Barbara County and 26 years in public education, I am personally invested in our school communities. I am a product of Santa Maria public schools, a mother of two children who attend local public schools, and the wife of a high school teacher. I taught high school English, coached athletics, and served as a junior high principal, director of instruction, assistant superintendent, and deputy superintendent in Santa Barbara public schools. I attended UCSB, earning my bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in education. In 2018, I earned my doctorate in 2018 from University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education, focusing on organizational change, leadership, and student equity.

I have an understanding of the complexities of our public education system in our very unique and diverse county. I have a top-level, incredibly capable team at the Santa Barbara County Education Office, and have strong partnerships and relationships with community partners in the north, south, east, and west of Santa Barbara County, and I have the knowledge and the experience to move us forward during one of the most important and challenging times in education history.
What are your two main priorities if you win?1. Student Learning & Academic Success: Expand career and vocational education to prepare students for jobs that support their futures and our local economy. Here is one example of what I have accomplished in this area, and how I would like to expand: In 2022, SBCEO secured a $1.6 million grant to assist districts in expanding their Career Pathways, which will allow students to exit high school with skills and certificates required to enter directly into the workforce or into college. This particular grant focuses on advancing pathways in engineering, manufacturing, and information and communication technologies. Since 2017, we have secured over $6 million in state grants that have supported the high schools throughout SB County. Our goal now is to expand to junior highs and upper elementary grades so there can be a continuity of support for career and vocational pathways.

2. Student & Educator Safety and Well-being: Connect students, families, and educators to school-based mental wellness services, in response to urgent concerns and needs. Here is some background related to this goal and how I plan to expand: Referrals for mental wellness resources have dramatically increased, and in some cases have more than doubled in our schools. During my tenure as Superintendent, we secured, for the first time ever, a multi-million dollar state grant to increase in-school mental health support for students and their families specifically in Santa Barbara County Schools. With that grant, in 2021, we hired a team of mental health coordinators and navigators, who have begun supporting families in the Santa Maria Valley, and right now, we are preparing to expand to Lompoc, the Santa Ynez Valley, Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Carpinteria.
How will you collaborate with other governments? The essence of the Superintendent’s job is collaboration; we are the link between our county’s schools –and their students, families, and teachers- and other agencies and governmental entities. My office is the liaison between the county’s 20 school districts and 10 charter schools and California’s Department of Education. I meet regularly with school board members, am in close collaboration with the County’s Behavioral Wellness Department, County Public Health, the County’s Probation Department, the Office of Emergency Management, First 5 Santa Barbara County, and the Workforce Development Board. City councils, mayors, and governmental agencies in Santa Barbara County work effectively at serving their communities; I look forward to continuing to work together as partners throughout Santa Barbara County to provide a cohesive array of support on behalf of children, families, and school staff in our communities.
What are the next two issues that are most important to you?1. Preschool, Childcare, Special Education: Increase access to high quality childcare and preschool programs for working families, and expand early learning for children with special needs to support their readiness for kindergarten.

2. Promote Recruitment and Retention of School Employees: With staffing shortages occurring alongside increasing learning needs that were exacerbated by the pandemic, along with the fatigue faced by teachers and staff who rose so admirably to the challenges of the past two years, there is no simple, “one answer” to hiring and retaining staff, however, we need our staff to be energized, motivated, and feel prepared to support initiatives and carry out the multi-faceted and important job of teaching. We need to find creative solutions to attract and retain the most important resource we have for students: our teachers and support staff in our county’s schools.
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