News

Lodi, CA (September 19, 2022) —On September 16, 2022, Lockeford Elementary School hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Night to engage students and the broader community in all things STEM.

The event was hosted at the Lockeford Elementary School and drew more than 350 attendees from Lockeford and the surrounding communities. During the event, students, school staff, community members, and their families were able to visit various stations and learn, including robotics and paper airplanes. Additionally, Amazon’s Prime Air drone team was present with the drone displayed that will be making deliveries to Lockeford customers later this year. Amazon also hosted a food truck for attendees and handed out swag bags filled with a STEM robotics kit.

“We came to Science Night to encourage local youth to get inspired and curious about STEM. We brought our new Prime Air drone to give students an up close look at the new technology coming to Lockeford, while also providing tasty local treats, hands-on activities and a donation of much-needed school supplies to help support teachers and their classrooms,” said Amazon Spokesperson Natalie Banke. “We are very impressed with the way Lockeford Elementary School prioritizes STEM and recognizes the importance of teaching these subjects as early as possible.”

Michael Rogers, Lockeford Elementary School Principal, said “Our Science Night was well attended by Students, parents and staff.  The community enjoyed the static drone presentation by Amazon Prime Air and they had fun putting together solar powered drone kits also provided by Amazon. As a school and community, it was a pleasure partnering with Amazon and we greatly appreciate their generous donation.”

Amazon will continue to host and participate in regularly scheduled opportunities for the Lockeford community to learn more about the Prime Air service. Lockeford is among the first to receive Prime Air deliveries – getting free click-to-backyard drone delivery on thousands of everyday items in one hour or less.

 Lodi, CA (August 24, 2022) — Lodi Unified has once again been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Best Employers by State in its 2022 edition.

Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to compile the fourth annual list of “America’s Best Employers by State.” The list was collected by surveying 70,000 American employees who work for businesses with at least 500 employees. Forbes’ award honors 1,382 employers across multiple sectors that received the most recommendations. 

“I am very proud that Lodi Unified has received this award again from Forbes,” said Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer, Superintendent of Lodi Unified. “This designation is a direct result of our strong, stable, and dedicated workforce, and our supportive and innovative Board of Education. We have outstanding employees, many of whom dedicate their entire careers to our District and educating the children of our community. We are truly honored.”

Lodi Unified previously received this distinction in 2019. The District is one of only four California public school districts awarded this honor, and the only public school district to be recognized in San Joaquin County. Lodi Unified is one of the largest employers in San Joaquin County with over 3,000 employees.  

To view the full list for 2022, please visit the Forbes website

Lodi, CA (August 11, 2022)—During the August 9, 2022, Board of Education Meeting, the Board announced the appointment of Mr. Neil Young to the position of Associate Superintendent with an effective date of Monday, August 15, 2022. It was also announced that upon the retirement of Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer, Mr. Young would assume the role of Superintendent. 

Mr. Young joined Lodi Unified in 1998 as a sixth-grade teacher at Vinewood Elementary School. Throughout his tenure, Mr. Young has served as a teacher, vice principal, principal, Director of Personnel, and most recently as the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education. In that capacity, Mr. Young oversaw 32 elementary schools, providing leadership to over 13,000 students.

Mr. Young received his Bachelor of Arts and his Master of Arts from Saint Mary’s College of California. He received his teaching credential from the University of the Pacific and administrative services credential from Saint Mary’s College of California. 

Lodi Unified is thrilled to welcome Mr. Young as the future Superintendent.

Dr. Nichols-Washer shared, “For over two decades, Mr. Young has exemplified commitment and dedication to the Lodi Unified mission and educational programs. Mr. Young has served the District in a variety of positions over 23 years, and he will bring a high caliber of expertise to the position of Superintendent. We are grateful for Mr. Young’s experience, and we know he will serve the District well as the next Superintendent.”

Mr. Young shares the District’s excitement, saying “I am honored to serve as the Board’s next Superintendent in Lodi Unified. I am so thankful to have worked with such talented employees, and I know how vital each person is in ensuring our students succeed. I do not take this responsibility lightly. I look forward to continuing the important work of educating our Lodi Unified students on behalf of their families.”

Mr. Young went on to share, “My son recently graduated from Tokay High School, and my wife and I have two children currently enrolled in the District as well. As a family, we are committed to serving the needs of the greater Lodi Unified School District community.”

Mr. Young will succeed Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer, who will retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year, after 15 years of service as the Lodi Unified Superintendent and 20 years in a superintendent position. Dr. Nichols-Washer is currently one of the longest-serving superintendents in California.

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.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       CONTACT: CHELSEA VONGEHR, PIO

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!