Monday, May 10, 2021

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Williams Unified hires new superintendent

Sandra Ayon

The Williams Unified School District Board of Trustees did not have to go far to find the new district superintendent the community was hoping for.

The board on Thursday appointed Sandra Ayon, of Arbuckle, to take the helm of the school district on July 1.

“I’m so excited,” said Board President Pat Ash, who introduced Ayon at last week’s school board meeting.

Ayon, a longtime Colusa County resident, has been the assistant superintendent at Winters Joint Unified School District for the past seven years, where she has applied her expertise in curriculum and instruction, diagnostic and state testing, professional development, and teacher growth and evaluation has led to that district’s success.

Ayon got her start in education in 1997 as an Arbuckle Elementary School sixth grade teacher and taught at Lloyd G. Johnson Jr. High from 2001-2005 when she left for a position as the Winters Middle School principal upon receiving her master’s degree from CSU Sacramento in educational leadership.

Ayon was hired as a permanent replacement for the controversial Edgar Lampkin, whom the new school board fired immediately after they took office in December.

Interim Superintendent Bill Cornelius said that while Ayon will take the reins of the district in July, she will be included in upcoming discussions on the Local Control Accountability Plan, the process that helps parents, teachers, and administration determine the district’s local priorities approach to providing services to students.

Williams Unified provided extensive outreach to stakeholders in the search for a suitable superintendent.

About 15 groups and 77 participants met with consultants to provide input, and 171 people, including parents and staff, responded to a survey to develop a list of qualities they wanted in a new administrator.

Desired traits included being a good listener, being open-minded, an effective communicator, and respectful to staff. Stakeholders also wanted someone local who understood small rural towns and would be visible in the schools and community. They also wanted someone who has an understanding of migrant communities and has a proven track record of improving student learning.

Ayon is bilingual and bicultural. She has overseen numerous programs and curriculum selection and has directed Special Education and English Language learner programs. She helped to establish and guide the teacher evaluation process for the Winters district and has successfully piloted, adopted, and initiated the Professional Growth Evaluation Cycles that is in its fourth year of implementation in Winters.

In her resume, Ayon said she could offer the district a wide range of knowledge and expertise.

“It is my desire to be that leader that brings support and advocacy for equity and access to high-quality education programs,” Ayon said.

Ayon’s $174,000 per year contract is for three years through June 30, 2024.

The district plans to host a small reception for Ayon to meet the public in May.

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