Superintendent Kirk Shrum discusses his educational leadership experience and visions for Visalia Unified in his own words
In the last Months, the Visalia Unified School District held an open search and public meetings to solicit community input in their search for a new Superintendent. The VUSD is one of Tulare County’s largest school districts and includes both Ivanhoe Elementation School and Golden West High School that serve the community of Ivanhoe.
The search for a new superintendent began once long-time supertinented Tamara Ravalín announced her retirement after 40 years in the educational field. Kirk Shrum, an educator from the state of Georgia accepted the offer and will officially begin his new tenure on May 16th.
Below is a message from Superintendent Shrum:
“Hello Visalia Unified School District Team,
In just a few weeks, on May 16, I will officially join you and begin working alongside Interim Superintendent Doug Cardoza to ensure a successful transition. I am grateful to the Board of Education for their appointment and the opportunity to serve as your superintendent. From the moment I first learned about Visalia, I was drawn to the community and the work of the District. VUSD is a community that values education and believes in creating futures for all students. Since I first stepped foot in the community, I felt welcomed and at home. I cannot wait to listen and learn with you, and multiple opportunities for conversation and dialogue together will occur beginning in late May.
Since I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher. I come from a family of educators. My mom taught 1st grade her entire career. I saw the impact she and others had on kids and knew that teaching was the career for me. I stepped into my first classroom in January 1997, after graduating college, to teach a second-grade class in an urban school in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I was the third teacher for the class that school year, and I quickly learned that the opportunities I had experienced as a child were not available to all kids. That realization fueled my drive to be the best educator I could be. As I became a school and district administrator, I saw the impact policies and systems have on creating the conditions to ensure all students have opportunities and access, and all schools provide a solid foundation. It is vital we create a system where every individual student and employee feels that they belong and have access to the instruction and supports necessary to be successful. That is the work that I am committed to advancing as I join you in Visalia Unified.
As a collection of educators nationwide, we have been through and experienced a lot during the past two years. Yet, despite the loss and pain resulting from the COVID pandemic, each of us has shown amazing resilience. Because of you, kids learned, families were connected to supports, and we reimagined how to “do school”. Each of you, whether your role was in a school building or supporting school operations, made it happen together.
I am thrilled to join this accomplished team, and together we are Visalia Unified Proud!”
Visalia Unified School District