Visalia Unified names Shrum as new superintendent

Kirk Shrum brings 25 years of educational and administrative leadership to California from Georgia

VISALIA – Visalia Unified introduced its new superintendent Tuesday night. 

At its March 8 meeting, the Visalia Unified School District board of trustees unanimously voted to appoint Kirk Shrum to the position of superintendent. Shrum will officially begin working alongside Interim Superintendent Doug Cardoza on May 16, 2022, and then he will assume the full responsibility of leading VUSD on July 1, 2022.

“We strongly feel that Mr. Shrum reflects the qualities and characteristics identified by the community,” school board President Juan Guerrero said. “We look forward to working with him to continue to move the district in a positive direction.”

Parents wanting to meet the district’s new head of education will have an opportunity later today. The district sent out an invitation to the community for a Meet the New Superintendent event from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 at the VTEC High School Arboretum located at 2245 S. Linwood Ave. in Visalia. 

The recruitment for VUSD’s new superintendent began in August 2021 with assistance from the Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE) and the office of Tulare County Superintendent Tim Hire. 

TCOE and Superintendent Hire held numerous listening meetings to gather input from the community to identify characteristics they wanted to see in the next superintendent. Following a rigorous nationwide search, Superintendent Hire brought forth the top candidates for the Board of Trustees to consider. Kirk Shrum was selected by the Board as the top choice for Visalia Unified. 

“On behalf of the VUSD Board of Trustees, we want to thank our staff, students, parents, and community for their input during the superintendent recruitment process,” Guerrero said. “Lastly, I’d like to personally thank Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire for overseeing the superintendent search.”

Shrum brings over 25 years of educational and administrative leadership experience to the role of superintendent for VUSD. Since 2019, he has served as the chief school leadership officer with Henry County Schools, McDonough, Georgia, Before his position as the chief school leadership officer, Shrum served as area executive director from 2013-2019 and school principal from 2011-2013 for Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. He began his career as a teacher with Hamilton County School District at Thrasher Elementary School in 1997. Next, he moved up to the assistant principal role at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary School and eventually principal of Daisy Elementary School in 2006. 

Shrum holds a master’s degree in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University Cookeville, Tennessee, and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

Shrum will be VUSD’s sixth superintendent in the last 10 years. Throughout the search for a new superintendent, Doug Cardoza served 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 nearly three 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.

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