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New Superintendent Chavez Takes Helm
School Bells
Chavez EUSD
Ricardo Chavez is the new Escalon Unified School District Superintendent.

It’s the beginning of a new school year in the Escalon Unified School District, with classes on all campuses beginning on Thursday, Aug. 11.

The 2022-23 school year will see a new District Superintendent at the helm, as Ricardo Chavez was named to succeed the now-retired Ron Costa. The Times recently did a ‘Q&A’ session with Chavez to learn more about the superintendent as he gets ready to lead the district into the new year.


Q: What is your educational background, schools, degrees?

A: I started my career in the field of education in 2005 as an elementary school librarian. I served in this role for three years before starting my graduate studies. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from the University of California, Irvine in Psychology and Social Behavior. I earned a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Educational Psychology, an Education Specialist Degree (EdS) in School Psychology, and a Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPS) from the University of the Pacific, Stockton. Lastly, I obtained my clear Administrative Services credential from Teachers College of San Joaquin.


How long have you been with EUSD and did you start here as the Assistant Superintendent?

The 2022-2023 school year will be my 10th year with the Escalon Unified School District. I was first hired in the 2013-2014 school year as a school psychologist. In the 2015-2016 school year, I assumed the role of Coordinator of Special Education Programs (through the 2017-2018 school year); and I served as the EUSD Assistant Superintendent of Education Services from 2018 through 2022.


What other positions have you held with other school districts?

Prior to my tenure with EUSD, I served as a District Psychologist with the Elk Grove Unified School District.


Is there anything specific that drew you to come to Escalon?

Escalon has always been a special place. Prior to officially being hired by the district in 2013, I had completed practicum/internship hours in EUSD. I was initially drawn to EUSD due to the robust Response to Intervention (RTI) program the district operated. I am a firm believer in effective instructional practices coupled with early intervention and I was excited to support a district that effectively implemented these practices. While completing my practicum hours, I developed positive relationships with students, families and staff and I knew that I wanted to join the EUSD team as soon as a position opened. That opportunity presented itself to me in 2013 and I have never looked back. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with dedicated professionals and a fantastic governing board who truly uphold EUSD’s mission, to serve and connect with all students.


What are you most looking forward to this school year?

I am really excited for the opportunity to continue our work within our Professional Learning Community. I am a firm believer in the process, and I know that the continued refinement will allow us to offer the best instructional programs to all our students. I am also excited to continue building relationships with our community at large, so that together we can continue offering educational choices and opportunities that will prepare our students to be college and career ready.


What do you see as the biggest short-term challenge for the district? Biggest long-term challenge?

I believe our biggest-short term challenge will be to continue adapting to the challenges imposed by the COVID pandemic. With that being said, I am excited to begin this school year which begins to feel more ‘normal.’ I am confident that despite the challenges, with the continued support of our governing board, teachers, staff, and families, EUSD will continue to offer excellent educational programs and opportunities.


How has it been working with the school board and are there any changes to your administrative team for this year?

I am honored to work with a supportive and student-centered school board. The past couple of years have been challenging for everyone, but I have seen our board navigate the challenges with stride always making decisions that best support the needs of EUSD. I believe our board members truly understand our Escalon community and continue to advocate for student centered programs that are in alignment with our local needs.

This school year will bring several changes to our administrative team. Mr. Mark Vos, our tenured El Portal Middle School (EPMS) Principal, has moved to the District Office and will be serving as our new Assistant Superintendent of Education Services. Mr. Mike Gaston, former Assistant Principal at El Portal Middle School is stepping into the role of Principal at this school site. Mrs. Kayla Jefferson, an El Portal Middle School teacher, will be stepping into the role of Assistant Principal at EPMS. Escalon High School will also have a new Principal this year, Mr. Jason Furtado (former Assistant Principal at EHS). Mr. Daniel Taylor previously with Manteca Unified will be serving as the new EHS Assistant Principal. Although these are significant changes to our administrative team, I am confident that the current team will continue to implement programs which promote academic excellence.


Next week, look for information on the new teachers and support personnel that will be serving in a variety of schools and positions throughout the district.