New Colusa school superintendent named


After an exhaustive search for a new school superintendent, the Colusa Unified School District Board of Trustees has selected Jeff Turner to take the helm. 

Turner is currently the superintendent for Mesa Union School District, in Somis, in Ventura County. 

Turner replaces Dwayne Newman, who took over the superintendent position at Orland Unified at the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The district has been operating under the leadership of Interim Superintendent Bill Cornelius since July 1. 

School Board President Melissa Ortiz said the district’s search efforts for a new leader focused on two key elements: fit to community and ability to help district staff and students succeed. 

“We feel that Mr. Turner will be an excellent addition to our schools and community,” Ortiz said Monday, in a press release. “His past accomplishments, talent for asking great questions, and passion for rural communities will be important ingredients in his success at CUSD.” 

Ortiz said two Colusa Unified School District trustees would visit Mesa Union schools in the coming weeks to learn how the school board might best support Turner in his transition to be an effective superintendent at Colusa Unified and to learn more about the successful programs for students that he has developed alongside his Board of Trustees and Mesa Union staff.

Prior to his work in California public education, Turner was raised in a rural community in Idaho. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Idaho State University and his master’s degree in Educational Leadership at Northwest Nazarene University. 

“My wife and I made an instant connection with the community, and we look forward to building meaningful relationships with CUSD staff, students, and families,” Turner said Monday, in a statement. 

The district’s press release describes Turner as having a long history of working with staff, parents, students, and community members in enhancing educational programs that ensure that students have the tools and resources to be college and career ready.

“He is looking forward to working closely with the Colusa community and staff to maximize opportunities for all CUSD students,” Ortiz said. “Mr. Turner believes that continuing to build a close partnership with local community colleges, University of California and California State University institutions, along with a strong Career Technical Education program, is critical for the long-term success for our students and community.”

Turner has served Mesa Unified since 2015. He is working to fulfill the promises he made to the district, while creating a timeline for his permanent relocation to Colusa. 

A welcome reception will be held for Turner at 4:15 PM on Feb. 10, prior to CUSD’s February regular school board meeting at the Colusa Unified School District office, 745 10th St. ■

Susan Meeker
Susan Meeker is the Editor and Reporter for the Pioneer Review. She started her position with the Pioneer Review in January 2017 as the Advertising Manager. Susan specializes in local crime, government reporting. She also loves covering the various topics and events in our county. You can send her a message at