Dear Benicia Community,

Welcome Back to a New and Exciting School Year! I hope you had a rejuvenating summer season with friends and family. Staff is thrilled to be back and worked hard to ensure a smooth opening of school. The good news is we received feedback indicating the opening went well and did not include too many glitches, which can occur, no matter how hard we try to account for everything.

We are always interested in your feedback and if you have thoughts on our opening procedures regarding how we can improve, please feel free to share them with the site administration. Thank you to everyone who helped with this year’s opening!

Inspiring Video: During my opening address to staff, I shared the following video we put together which honors the important role our staff plays in the lives of students. To access the video:

Leadership Matters: In the spring, I enjoyed introducing you to our new leaders and describing leadership changes within the District. I am very pleased with our team and would, again, like to welcome the following new leaders to our fine District. They are Brianna Kleinschmidt, principal of our High School; Damian Scott, principal of our Middle School and Stephen Slater, principal of Turner Elementary. Dr. Leslie Beatson, the former principal of Turner, is now the Assistant Superintendent of Education Services.

Creating a Compelling Future for Our Students: Last year we went through the process of developing the District’s Vision, Beliefs and Desired Characteristics of a Benicia Graduate. We strove to anchor our thought processes in research, workforce trends, expectations from universities, experience, and common sense. We reached out to the parent community and many of you shared an abundance of thoughtful ideas. We then utilized an LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan), a subcommittee of parents to help hone the thoughts and ideas compiled to that date. The draft version went through several iterations and included feedback from District and site level staff.  

We shared the document with the Board throughout its development and discussed it in detail at two Board meetings where it was approved in June. While it is a challenge to hit the sweet-spot with this kind of work, we believe we developed language that will help guide our work in ways that are both inspiring and actionable.

Thanks again to all of you who provided input and helped with this important initiative. Now, the next phase of this works begins!

Vision:  BUSD – Where all students achieve their highest potential in an engaging, inspiring and challenging learning environment.

Organizational Beliefs

We believe:

  • Students reach their potential when they are engaged, encouraged, challenged and supported in the pursuit of their interests, passions, and talents.

  • All students are creative, unique and can learn.

  • Education is a collaborative effort among students, staff, parents, guardians and the community.

  • Education must be purposeful, challenging and innovative.

  • In valuing the diversity of students, staff and the community

  • Every student has a voice that deserves to be heard.

  • Safe and welcoming schools help students and staff reach their potential.

  • Educational experiences for students and staff are continually improved through systems of accountability.

The Desired Characteristics of a Benicia Graduate:

  • Inquisitive with a desire to be lifelong learners

  • Self-sufficient, self-motivated and socially responsible individuals

  • Fully prepared and equipped for college or career in the 21st Century

  • Collaborative, creative, critical thinkers with strong communication skills

  • Compassionate, respectful and possess a high degree of integrity

  • Resilient with the willingness to persevere

  • Innovative, entrepreneurial and adaptable

  • Globally aware and environmentally responsible citizens  

  • Capable of recognizing the talents in themselves so they can be fulfilled, compassionate and engaged individuals.


More Good News: This year, we had three open Board seats – two four-year and one two-year. We are delighted to announce that all three seats were filled and include: Gary Wing (returning), Dr. Stacy Holguin, and Celeste Monnette, our newest member, to whom we extend our warmest welcome.  

We are fortunate to have such intelligent, compassionate and dedicated community members willing to join our Governance Team, with the main goal of providing one of the best school districts in California.  

State Testing Data (SBAC): Your child’s assessment scores will be mailed next week. This was the second administration of a very new assessment, one we are still adjusting to. We are carefully analyzing the results, looking for strengths and areas where we can improve. The State-administered assessment is an important one for us, but it does not tell the entire story of a student’s development. We use this data, along with a number of local assessments, to improve our overall program and to target student support.  

Overall, our scores were relatively stable from last year. We remain the highest achieving district in the Solano County and are dedicated to continual improvement. Staff is hard at work reflecting on our scores in relation to our overall program and are setting goals and actions as we continue to refine, enhance and improve our overall program.   

Facilities Master Plan: Last year we completed our Facilities Master Plan. (Plan link here.) Several projects delineated in the plan are underway. This year, we will be going through the plan in further detail, adding specificity to the next series of projects outlined in the priority areas.  

Hopefully, you have observed the signs in place at all sites indicating progress and projects underway. Please refer to the Measure S update link on our website for further detail regarding our progress.

As always, we want to thank all of you for supporting Measure S!  

I am looking forward to another great school year and am proud to be your Superintendent!