LBUSD board gives superintendent contract extension

It’s been an eventful first year on the job for Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Jill Baker.

Baker, who became the LBUSD’s first female superintendent in May 2020, has had to navigate the district through a pandemic, a nationwide racial reckoning and budget uncertainties. The LBUSD Board of Education recently showed its support for the job Baker has done by unanimously voting for an extension to her contract.

Baker’s contract, signed last year, was for four years—the Board on Aug. 18 extended its term for another year, through Aug. 17, 2025.

“This does not increase the amount of the district’s fiscal obligations except for the addition of one year,” said LBUSD Chief Business and Financial Officer Yumi Takahashi.

The Board voted 4-0 to approve the extension, with board member Erik Miller absent from the meeting.

“I would like to congratulate our superintendent on her first year,” said Diana Craighead, the longest-tenured member of the board. “She came in at a very difficult time, and she’s had the audacity, capability, and compassion to lead us through…I’m excited for the future of this district and you’re a very big part of that.”

The newest board member, Doug Otto, pointed out that it’s normal for an educational leader receive an extension of this kind to keep a four-year employment contract in place, and expressed his “gratitude and appreciation” for Baker.

Current LBUSD Board president Juan Benitez abstained from voting for Baker’s contract last May, citing concerns over the district’s budget at the time. On Wednesday, he was an enthusiastic “aye” for Baker’s extension.

“I echo all those sentiments, you made the year count in many ways,” he said. “I’m looking forward to starting the school year in person safely with as many students as we can.”

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