Although its never ideal for a superintendent to leave mid way through the year Visalia Unified School District (VUSD) Superintendent Craig Wheaton will be leaving his 10 year position at VUSD in order to join the administrative staff at Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) as deputy superintendent after the new year.
With the support of TCOE Superintendent Jim Vidak, and the VUSD board Wheaton’s last days with the district will be in February.
Wheaton announced his resignation as superintendent at the October 27 meeting of the Visalia Unified Board of Education.
“I will make sure that everything is in place over the next three months before I leave.”
On the horizon for VUSD are several large projects including the completion of the district’s new middle school. “There are all kinds of exciting things going on in the district. And I know the district can carry on without me.”
“Craig will be an excellent addition to our leadership team,” said Mr. Vidak. “In his 37 years in education, he has had a very wide range of teaching and administrative experience at both large and small districts.”
Wheaton shared that with the experience he has gathered in educational administration he is confident that he understands the needs of large and small school districts. “They know that I’m not going to ignore their needs,” stated Wheaton.
Prior to his tenure at Visalia Unified, Wheaton served 24 years with Corcoran Unified as a high school counselor and coach and an elementary principal. Originally from the Bay Area, Wheaton moved to the valley in order to gain some experience, but ended up making his home in Visalia. “I love this area, it has a special place in my heart. We still treat people like a small town.”
According to Vidak, “His experience with small district leadership will be a tremendous asset to more than 30 school districts in Tulare County that have enrollments of 2,500 or less”.
Wheaton joined the Visalia Unified School District in 2002 as director of state and federal projects and later as an area administrator. Since July 2010, he has served as Visalia Unified School District superintendent “I’ve had my hands in a little bit of everything,” shared Wheaton. He went on to say, “This is a new challenge that is going to take what I do into a different realm,” shared Wheaton.
Furthermore, Wheaton is looking forward to gaining knowledge from Vidak, “He has been my mentor over the last five years and is a reservoir of experience and knowledge. I want to learn as much as I can from him.”
Wheaton earned his doctorate in education from Pepperdine University in 2001.