Rene Townsend, former superintendent for ten years, is executive director of the Urban Education Dialog (UED) and Public School Services (PSS), nonprofit organizations founded by Price Charities. PSS has a mission of reducing the price of goods and services to all public school districts; UED is a forum to confront challenges facing urban school districts and exchange best practices. With seven other superintendents, Townsend coauthored Eight at the Top; they are working on book two, offering more leadership insights for superintendents. Townsend received her bachelor of science from the University of Washington, her master's from San Diego State University, and her doctorate from Northern Arizona University. She serves on the national boards of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) and Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR).
Gloria L. Johnston has devoted over 40 years to a career in education. She currently coaches, mentors, and provides professional development for principals, central office administrators, superintendents, and school boards. The focus of her work is on systemic strategies that lead to improving student achievement and closing the achievement gap. Her years of service in PreK–12 education included serving as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, and 12 years as a superintendent of schools. She worked in urban, suburban, and rural school districts in Illinois, California, and Caracas, Venezuela. Most recently, she served as dean of the School of Education at National University, headquartered in San Diego, California.
Throughout her career, Johnston has been an invited speaker at state and national professional conferences, served on state and national educational and research committees, and has been awarded major professional development grants. She is coauthor of two books, Eight at the Top: A View Inside Public Education, a collection of stories about the work of school district superintendents, and Effective Superintendent-School Board Practices: Strategies for Developing and Maintaining Good Relationships With Your Board, a practical, experience-based look at the most important role the superintendent has in leading a school district.
Johnston earned her PhD in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her MS in bilingual/bicultural education and BS in humanities (magna cum laude) from Northern Illinois University.
Prior to joining the 26,000-student Irvine Unified School District in Orange County, California, Gwen E. Gross served as superintendent in Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Beverly Hills Unified, Ojai Unified, and at the then one-school Hermosa Beach City School District. In addition to her 17 years as a superintendent, she has been an elementary and middle grades teacher, principal, director of operations, and faculty member at universities in the Midwest and on the West Coast. She was named as one of the “Top 100 Educators in North America” and was honored as the “2005 Superintendent of the Year” by Pepperdine University, where she has served as an adjunct professor of education leadership for 10 years.
Gross is active in many community and professional organizations, holding leadership positions in many of them, particularly with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), where she has chaired the New Superintendents’ Annual Symposium, the 2007 superintendent symposium, served as the vice chair of the State Superintendents’ Committee, and has been named a Tri-County Superintendent of the Year. Together with several other superintendents, Gross coauthored Eight at the Top: A View Inside Public Education and Effective Superintendent-School Board Practices. She was a bimonthly columnist for the Beach Reporter newspaper serving Los Angeles County’s South Bay area and she has developed a series of creative communication documents for distribution to the many constituencies served by public schools.
Gross is received her BA from University of Wisconsin, MA from University of Akron, and PhD from Kent State University, and a postdoctoral certificate from Harvard University.
Peggy Lynch recently retired after serving for nearly seven years as the superintendent of the San Dieguito Union High School District, located in the northern part of San Diego County. Prior to San Dieguito, she was the superintendent of Brea Olinda Unified School District in Orange County, California. Her career spans 38 years and includes middle and high school teaching, high school assistant principal and principal, and assistant superintendent.
Lynch served on the San Diego County Department of Education Achievement Gap Task Force, as well as other county advisory committees. She was also co-chair of the San Diego and Imperial counties superintendents group for Association of California School Administrators (ACSA). She has chaired the Superintendents’ Symposium Committee for ACSA, as well as the organization’s annual conference. In Orange County, she also chaired the county superintendents’ organization. Her memberships include Southern California Superintendents, Suburban School Superintendents, American Association of School Administrators, and Association of California School Administrators.
She received her undergraduate degree from Parsons College in Iowa, her master’s from California State University, Fullerton, and her doctorate from the University of La Verne.
Lorraine M.Garcy serves as a consultant with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) as the coordinator of a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to provide training for superintendents inCalifornia. She previously served 34 years in education as a California superintendent, assistant superintendent, site administrator, and K–12 instructor. Garcy has been as a member of the ACSA State Superintendents' Committee, New Superintendents' Workshop Planning Committee, and Superintendents' Symposium Planning Committee. Garcy also worked as director of the Superintendent Academy, North, for administrators aspiring to be superintendents, and on the California School Leadership Academy Board. In 2003, she was recognized by the California State Assembly for her service to the students of the State of California with an Assembly Resolution. Garcy received earned a bachelors degree in education from the University of New York, Oswego, a master's degree in education administration from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and her doctorate in school business administration from the University of Southern California.
In July 2001, Benita B. Roberts retired as superintendent of a 20,000-student California school district where she served for eight of her thirty-four years in public education. Prior to her tenure as a superintendent, she was a classroom teacher and held several administrative positions, including assistant superintendent of education services. Since retirement, she has spent time in interim administrative assignments, taught classes in the administrative services credential program at California State University, San Bernardino, and served as the human resources manager in her family’s business.
As superintendent, an especially memorable occasion was her appearance in Washington, DC, on a televised town hall meeting with the then-United States Secretary of Education Richard Riley on the subject of early college preparation programs. During her years as a school administrator, she served on several community boards, including the Rotary Club of Jurupa, where she completed a year as president. In addition, she was a member of the boards of the Jurupa Chamber of Commerce, the Riverside YMCA, and United Way of the Inland Valleys, the American Heart Association, and the Jurupa Mountains Cultural Center. Currently, she is a member of the board of the Community Foundation serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the Riverside Community College Gateway to College Charter School, and the Riverside Community College Foundation as chair of the finance committee.
The University of California, Riverside, recognized her as an alumna of distinction for her community service. Other awards include the Jurupa Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year, a Jurupa Council PTA Honorary Service Award, Riverside YWCA Woman of Achievement, and the Jurupa Chamber of Commerce Member of the Year. The Riverside African American Historical Society honored her extended family for their numerous accomplishments as pioneers in the Inland region.
Roberts received her undergraduate education at the University of California, Riverside and a graduate degree from California State University, San Bernardino. She also completed coursework in the University of La Verne’s doctoral program in organizational management.
Patricia B. Novotney is an associate professor at the University of La Verne in the department of organizational leadership. In addition, she serves as chair of the professional administrative services credential program. She is also a consultant with school districts in the areas of governance team training, leadership development, strategic planning, and organizational development. Previously, she spent 36 years in public school district service. The majority of her work was in school administration, where she was a principal in three Southern California school districts and superintendent in two California school districts, serving for 13 years.
Novotney has also been an adjunct professor, teaching master’s- and doctoral-level classes at Pepperdine University, the University of Southern California, Chapman University, and the California State University campuses at Fullerton, Long Beach, and San Bernardino.
During her time as district superintendent, Novotney served as president of the Rotary Club and held offices in several other service clubs. She was also active in the Temecula, California, Chamber of Commerce. One of her community passions was her role as president of a nonprofit organization designed to work on the elimination of child abuse. During her time as superintendent, she received awards from the Rotary, Kiwanis, and Soroptimist clubs; the Temecula Chamber of Commerce and Police Department; and the California State Parent Teacher Association.
Novotney received her BS degree from Bloomsburg State University, where in 1994, she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Service Award. She received her MS degree in educational administration from Chapman University and her doctoral degree in institutional management from Pepperdine University.