Visalia Unified asks parents to prioritize qualities of next superintendent

Online survey was emailed to students and parents in grades 7 to 12 on Sept. 1 and will close on Sept. 17

VISALIA – The Tulare County Office of Education didn’t waste any time this month to begin searching for the next superintendent of Visalia Unified.

On Sept. 1, County Superintendent Tim Hire sent out a survey to students, parents and community members to help the Visalia Unified School District Board identify characteristics and build a profile to find “the ideal choice for the next VUSD Superintendent.” The survey was initially emailed out to VUSD parents and students in grades 7 to 12. The 10-question survey asks the public to prioritize personal qualities, previous education experience, level of education, the relative size of the district they are coming from, and if superintendent candidates have a connection to the San Joaquin Valley.

It goes on to ask participants to rate the current level of education students in the district are receiving and whether or not VUSD is a good place to work or attend school. The online survey can be found at and will close on Sept. 17.

Those parents and community members who are either unable to navigate the online survey or unable to access it due to a lack of internet connectivity will still have an opportunity to answer the questions as well as ask other questions about the process during five listening sessions throughout the district this month. Hire said the listening sessions will be held at all five middle schools as well as Goshen and Ivanhoe elementary schools. Hire said the profile will likely be presented to the school board at its Oct. 12 meeting.

Developing a profile is step one of the five-step process laid out by Hire. Once the profile is complete, TCOE will begin advertising the job description anywhere professionals may be looking for jobs, such as EdCal magazine, EdJOIN school job postings and websites for professional organizations such as Association of California School Administrators (ACSA).

Applications will be due at midnight on Jan. 10, followed by candidate interviews in February. He expects to the board will be able to introduce a new superintendent at first board meeting in March 2022.

Visalia Unified approved a $20,000 contract with TCOE on Aug. 11 to conduct the search for its next superintendent.

In the meantime, Doug Cardoza will serve as interim superintendent. Cardoza officially took over the head spot for the district on Sept. 1, after Tamara Ravalin officially retired on Aug. 31. Ravalin announced on May 21 her plans to retire on Aug. 31, citing personal and health reasons. Ravalin was thrust into the spotlight two years ago when she was named acting superintendent by the board a week after her predecessor, Dr. Todd Oto, was unceremoniously dismissed by the board.

Cardoza steps into the interim superintendent role with over 32 years of educational experience under his belt. He is expected to serve as interim superintendent for about 10 months until the district hires a permanent superintendent. Once the new superintendent officially takes over, Cardoza will transition back into his role as assistant superintendent. The board approved a three-year contract in June for Cardoza to continue to serve in that role through the 2023-24 school year.

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