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.

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

Lodi USD Welcomes New Assistant Superintendent 

Robert Sahli appointed as Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment

Lodi, CA (June 25, 2020)—Lodi Unified has named Dr. Robert Sahli as the new Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, following the retirement of long-time Assistant Superintendent, Lisa Kotowski.

Dr. Sahli joined Lodi Unified last year as the Coordinator of Professional Development. In that role, Dr. Sahli provided leadership in the areas of professional development, oversaw professional development activities and new teacher induction.

Prior to his role in Lodi Unified, Dr. Sahli worked in Stockton Unified for 27 years as a teacher, program specialist, administrator, and executive director. During his time in Stockton Unified, he led department staff to ensure that teachers and administrators were prepared and equipped to meet the instructional needs of students. He also helped to implement and monitor K-12 curriculum.

Lodi Unified is pleased to welcome Dr. Sahli as the new Assistant Superintendent.

Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer shared, “Dr. Sahli has dedicated 28 years to public education and he brings considerable expertise in professional development, curriculum, and instructional technology to our District. We know that he will serve our District well in this new position and help us carry out our mission to provide the best education for all of our students to be successful in life.”

Dr. Sahli is equally thrilled to take the helm in this new capacity. Sahli says, “I appreciate the opportunity to serve the Lodi Unified community in the role of Assistant Superintendent.

I have experience with many of the tasks required to carry out the duties of my new position. I look forward to working with District stakeholders to meet the needs of our students.”

Sahli went on to share, “My three children are alumni of Lodi Unified schools. I am committed to enforcing and expanding upon the solid educational opportunities my children received in the District.”

Dr. Sahli earned his Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Concordia University, Irvine, Master of Arts in Education: Curriculum and Instruction from CSU, Sacramento, and Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from CSU, Sacramento.

 About Lodi Unified School District

Lodi Unified is located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. Spanning 350 square miles, Lodi Unified provides exceptional learning opportunities to over 28,000 students in Lodi, Stockton, and surrounding County areas. Lodi USD 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 through the use of digital devices. Lodi USD offers unique opportunities for students and staff making it the premier education destination.


Based on the May Revision of the State Budget, below is the most current information available to us at this time. 

The Governor’s May Revision paints a bleak picture of funding for school districts. One might conclude from partially reading the May Revision proposal that current year (2019-2020) and next year (2020-2021) Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) were maintained; however, the May Revise reality is that LCFF revenues will not increase but rather suffer severe reductions of 8 percent per year for several years. In addition, state categorical funds are likely to be cut by 50 percent. Categorical funds are used for programs such as Career Technical Education (CTE) and the After School program at many of our schools.

Should Lodi USD maintain 2019-2020 expenditure levels, these proposed revenue cuts will cause the District’s Fund 01 (‘General Fund’) Ending Fund Balance to decline by more than $26,000,000 versus revenue received (including the deferral of the June funds to July) in the 2019-2020 school year. The District’s Ending Fund Balance would drop from $62,000,000+ to $36,000,000 in one year’s time under this scenario. This occurs in spite of the addition of $6,200,000 of one-time CARES funding and an increase of ~$2,200,000 in the District’s AB602 (Special Education) funding. California school districts are also hoping that the Governor will follow through on promises to use the state’s $4.4 billion in CARES funding to help reduce some of the severity of the proposed cuts but no further information on that specific funding mechanism is available at this time.

The May Revise does nothing to soften the blows in future years either. The deep cuts proposed in the 2020-2021 school year carry forward into the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years, except without any proposed CARES Act-type funding offset. Due to the Lodi USD Board of Education's outstanding fiscal management, the District could possibly maintain its current programs in the 2020-2021 school year. The Board has indicated that keeping services for students in place, which in turn keeps staff employed, is the main priority for the 2020-2021 school year. However, planning would need to begin for substantial reductions in the 2021-2022 school year.

Given the May Revise proposal, Lodi USD would need to cut at least $26,000,000+ for the 2021-2022 year and borrow $10,000,000 from its own Debt Service Fund (Fund 56) in order to maintain positive certification. Districts that do not maintain positive certification are in jeopardy of a state take over, which eliminates local control. Even with this level of cuts and borrowing, the District would still need to cut further in the 2022-2023 school year, should there be no improvement in the school funding picture. For point of reference, should the District maintain its current programs in 2020-2021, a total of $37,500,000 in future years would be required to stabilize the decline in the District’s Ending Fund Balances at roughly 10 percent of all expenditures.

Business Services will continually provide budget updates to the Lodi USD Board of Education leading to and through the June 16, 2020 Budget presentation.




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The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has announced Elkhorn School (Elkhorn) as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2019. The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. This year, 362 schools have been recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools. Elkhorn is among only 30 schools in California to receive this designation. 

The Department recognizes selected schools in one of two categories, which are based on student scores, student subgroup scores, and graduation rates. Elkhorn was deemed an “Exemplary High Performing School.” This category is dedicated to schools who are “among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.”

“Lodi Unified is extremely proud of this well-deserved designation. Elkhorn teachers provide a rigorous academic program focused on meeting the needs of each student. The dedication of all staff members makes Elkhorn a nurturing and welcoming learning environment. We are fortunate to have a Board of Education that is committed to providing this unique service to our community,” said Superintendent Cathy Nichols-Washer.

A choice school, Elkhorn serves over 250 students in grades 4-8 in the Gifted and Talented Education Program. The school follows the National Standards in Gifted and Talented Education in their educational practices, which allows for powerful learner-driven experiences. Elkhorn strives to develop student scholars through means of peer collaboration in all subject areas. 

Elkhorn’s mission is to “provide a rigorous curriculum by means of differentiating instruction, compacting, enriching, and accelerating the curriculum to foster academic and social growth.”

“Our staff implements an innovative approach to educating our students. We want them to be life-long learners. Elkhorn is dedicated to meeting the needs of all gifted learners,” said Elkhorn Principal Patricia White. 

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education officials in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education.

“I have been honored to serve as the Principal of Elkhorn since 2014. Our school community is truly remarkable and I am thrilled that the hard work of our teachers, staff, and students has been recognized on a national scale,” White shared. 

On November 14 and 15, 2019, the U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, and the Department will celebrate with the selected schools at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

This is yet another exciting designation to add to the school’s list of accomplishments. Elkhorn received the California Distinguished School Award in 2018 and was a National Blue Ribbon School in 2008.

To learn more about Elkhorn School's designation, please visit: