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Long-Serving Lodi Unified Superintendent Plans to Retire

Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer Announces Intention to Retire at the End of the 2022-23 School Year after 15 Years of Service

At the May 10, 2022, Board of Education Meeting, Superintendent Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer announced that she intends to retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

Next year will mark her 37th year in education, including 20 years as a superintendent. Dr. Washer will have served as the Lodi Unified superintendent for 15 years when she retires in 2023. She is currently the longest serving superintendent among large school districts in California. When the Lodi Unified Board of Education appointed Dr. Washer as superintendent in July 2008, she became the first female superintendent in the district’s history.

Regarding her tenure, Dr. Washer shared: “I have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for our Board and staff, and therefore did not want to leave amid a health pandemic that brought challenges and controversy unlike anything school districts have experienced.  It is a privilege and honor to serve in this leadership position and I am grateful to have worked with so many wonderful people who care deeply about the children in Lodi Unified.  With the health pandemic situation improving, I think it is a good time for a new leader to start.  I know our Board and employees are committed to providing outstanding service to our community and will continue to make this the priority.”

Throughout Dr. Washer’s 15 years of service, she has sought to make Lodi Unified an education destination that “educates students for success.”

Under Dr. Washer’s leadership, Lodi USD has experienced significant growth and positive change. This has included, but has not been limited to:

  • The increase of students’ academic achievements each year;
  • Development of new career technical education (CTE) courses, including a new viticulture program starting in the 2022-23 school year;
  • Implementation of Measure U bond measure projects that have resulted in major facility improvements for schools;
  • Implementation of intervention and support services for students with a focus on early literacy;
  • Expansion of counseling services;
  • Renewed focus on security and safety;
  • Safeguarding district finances and the continued financial solvency of the district;
  • Expansion of learning opportunities at high schools, such as dual enrollment with San Joaquin Delta College, computer science, e-sports, and financial literacy;
  • Creation of the Valley Robotics Academy and Turner Academy;
  • Wireless internet infrastructure and 1:1 device implementation early on, which allowed the district to be well prepared for distance learning;
  • Creation of the Giving Opportunities to Kids (GOT Kids) Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that benefits students in Lodi Unified;
  • Creation of the District’s first ever strategic communication and marketing plan;
  • Rebranding of the District and its schools; and
  • Founding member of Women Together International, an organization started in 2019 with the shared vision to provide networking, learning, and mentoring opportunities to women in the Central Valley and beyond.

Lodi Unified Board President, Ms. Susan Macfarlane, acknowledged how vital Dr. Washer has been to the district’s success.

“We have been incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Washer at the helm for almost 15 years. It is uncommon for a superintendent to be this dedicated and invested long-term in a community, its students, and its staff.  It will be very difficult to replace her after the next school year. She has left an indelible mark on our district and our entire Board and community are appreciative of her years of service,” said Ms. Macfarlane.

Dr. Washer began her career in the classroom as a teacher in the Manteca Unified School District (MUSD) and shortly after began teaching in Sacramento.

Dr. Washer received her Bachelor of Science from the University of California, Davis and her teaching credential and master’s degree in Educational Administration from the California State University, Sacramento.

Dr. Washer received her doctorate degree in Educational Administration from the University of the Pacific. Prior to joining Lodi Unified, Dr. Washer served as the superintendent for MUSD and was the first female superintendent in MUSD history. 

About Lodi Unified

Spanning 350 square miles in the San Joaquin Valley, Lodi Unified provides exceptional learning opportunities to over 28,000 students in Lodi, Stockton, and surrounding county areas. Lodi Unified strives to educate students for success through high quality instruction, a wide variety of Career Technical Education programs, joint efforts with higher education, an award winning Gifted and Talented program, effective support programs, and extended learning using digital devices. Lodi Unified offers unique opportunities for students and staff making it the premier education destination.

Elkhorn School Named a Top Middle School in California

Lodi Unified's very own Elkhorn School has been named a top middle school in California by the U.S. News and World Report!

The U.S. News and World Report released its nationwide rankings of K-8 public schools, highlighting top public elementary and middle schools in each state across the nation. The rankings evaluated more than 61,000 schools across the nation and ranked almost 7,100 public elementary and middle schools across California. 

Schools were ranked based on performance on state-required tests, graduation, and how well the schools prepare their students for high school. 

In these rankings, Elkhorn School placed fifth overall in the state for middle schools, fifth in math proficiency, and tied for first in reading proficiency. 

Please join us in congratulating the entire Elkhorn School community for this high achievement and honor!

Middle College High Places Second in the United States Academic Decathlon National Competition

Lodi, CA (May 25, 2021)—Middle College High School (MCHS) recently competed and placed in the top two in the United States Academic Decathlon (USAD) Online National Competition for Medium Schools. Each year, USAD hosts a national competition for the top performing school in each state, consisting of four divisions, and an online national competition for small, medium, and large schools who qualify from each participating state.

MCHS was invited to represent California. Students competed in eight of the traditional ten subjects. MCHS scored second place overall among the twelve competing schools throughout the nation.

"Even though this year's competition was online, I still had fun learning about new things and testing my knowledge at Nationals with my team. Their support really made the experience for me,” said Lauren Duquez, a MCHS student.

Another student, Anish Ahuja, shared, “studying for the competition was a lot of work but getting to do it with such a wonderful team made it all worth it."

MCHS Principal, Julie Hummel, shared her pride in her students' work. “I am extremely proud of the students’ hard work and preparation this year and their ability to perform so well under pressure,” she shared.

The MCHS team qualified for the state competition during the San Joaquin County Academic Decathlon, which was organized by the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) and concluded on February 6.

USAD competitors were tested in their knowledge of art, economics, literature, mathematics, music, science, and social science, in a variety of events. Each year, all the events are tied together with a single theme. This year's theme was the Cold War.

Members of the MCHS team and their respective accolades at the national competition were as follows:

  • Anish Ahuja: 2nd place literature, 1st place music, 2nd place science, 1st place art, 1st place mathematics, 2nd place economics, 1st place social science, 1st place overall in the medium schools division honor (grade point average of 3.8-4.0+) category, and 1st place overall in the medium schools division (all categories)
  • Lauren Duquez: 1st place literature, 2nd place music, 3rd place science, 2nd place art, 1st place economics, 2nd place essay, 3rd place social science, 2nd place overall in the medium schools division honor category, and 2nd place overall in the medium schools division (all categories)
  • Giancarlo Fornaris: 2nd place music, 3rd place art, 2nd place mathematics, 1st place economics, 2nd place essay, and 1st place overall
  • Melody Kerby
  • Zahrah Khan: 3rd place essay
  • Andrea Mae Fernandez
  • John Mathews: 1st place music, 2nd place mathematics, and 3rd place social science
  • Anira Rose: 3rd place literature
  • Terrence Uia-Leuta: 2nd place literature
Lodi USD Teacher Named NCVSC STEM Teacher of the Year

Elkhorn STEM Teacher, Hank Chau, received a special surprise this morning. Surrounded by staff from the San Joaquin County Office of Education (SJCOE) and colleagues from Elkhorn School, the District, and the Lodi USD Board of Education, Mr. Chau was informed that he had been named the North Central Valley STEM Center (NCVSC) Albert Brocchini Memorial STEM Teacher of the Year. This award was given to Mr. Chau to recognize his work to “engage students, including through projects using technology to find solutions to real-world problems.”

As Mr. Chau was presented with his award by SJCOE, Pat White, Elkhorn School Principal, shared that Mr. Chau has built a “really incredible program" with a great reputation and "Elkhorn students benefit from the coursework every day."

In the nomination application, Mrs. White wrote of how Mr. Chau “strives to bring the most innovative, real-life curriculum to his students each day.” Two students, Caden Cao and Haroon Abdulgader, who also nominated Mr. Chau, shared that he has “gone above and beyond with his teaching methods and truly enriched our STEM education at Elkhorn School” and “[they’ve] never had a bad day in Mr. Chau’s STEM class.”

Gary Knackstedt, Lodi USD Board Member, congratulated Mr. Chau and thanked him for setting a positive example of how effective teaching can be in person and online.

“You have your students’ complete attention. They’re busy. They may not be here [in person] but they’re here mentally,” said Mr. Knackstedt.

The North Central Valley STEM Center is a regional collaborative partnership of area leaders in education, industry, and business. This is the sixth year NCVSC issued an award. Mr. Chau received a cash award and custom-made plaque during the surprise classroom visit. Awards are sponsored by the NCVSC, Brocchini Farms, Kristine Brocchini, and the Cardenas family.

Lodi USD Board of Education 2020 Election Cycle

Trustees of the Lodi USD Board of Education are elected via the by-trustee area electoral system. In a by-trustee area electoral process, candidates for the District’s Board of Education must reside within a specific geographic sub area of the District called a “trustee area” and candidates are elected only by the voters of that specific trustee area.

Three (3) members of the Board will be elected from the following areas:

  • Trustee Area 2 - one (1) – four-year term
  • Trustee Area 6 - one (1) – four-year term
  • Trustee Area 7 - one (1) – four-year term

Filing of Candidate Forms: The nomination filing period for the November 3, 2020 election is open July 13, 2020 through August 7, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. Issuing and filing candidate filing forms for the office of governing board member are only available during this filing period at the office of the Registrar of Voters (address below) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

ALL candidate forms including Declaration of Candidacy and Candidate Statement of Qualifications must be filed at the Office of the Registrar of Voters no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 7, 2020.

If you would like to determine your specific trustee area for either candidacy or voting purposes or for any other questions related to the November, 2020 election, please contact:

44 North San Joaquin Street, Suite #350, Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 468-8945