May 11, 2010 > Dr. James Morris named Superintendent
Dr. James Morris named Superintendent
Submitted By Lara York
Photos By William Mancebo
Meeting in a special public session on May 7, the Fremont Unified Board of Education officially appointed Dr. James Morris to be its new superintendent as of July 1. Dr. Morris, 51, will succeed Dr. Milt Werner, who announced his June 30, 2010 retirement last fall.
"The Board is delighted that Jim Morris has accepted our offer to lead our already high-performing school district to even higher levels of academic achievement and equity of educational opportunity for each of our students," declared Lara York, President of the Board of Trustees. The vote was unanimous to appoint Dr. Morris and approve his contract as superintendent.
In an open process, the School Board decided last November to search nationally for the best candidates to lead the school district and hired a national consultant to assist in this endeavor. In January, more than 200 individuals participated in the development of the Fremont Unified Leadership Characteristic Profile. The Board used this leadership profile as the yardstick to evaluate its candidates at each step of the selection process.
"We had an excellent pool of candidates from throughout the state of California, the United States and Canada. The Board is confident that Dr. Morris, with his combination of experience, intellect and vision is the right fit for our community. Dr. Morris will work with us to take our district to even higher levels of success with his expertise in not only the classroom, but also in all operations of a large school district," Lara York stated.
"I am honored by the opportunity to work with the Board of Education and an exceptional group of parents and educators who share my passion for excellence in education," said Dr. Morris. "I look forward to building upon the successes established by my predecessor, Dr. Werner and working with students, parents, teachers, classified employees, and administrators as we continue to strive for high levels of achievement for all students."
Trustees Ivy Wu and Lara York met with parents, teachers and staff in Los Angeles Unified School District who have worked with Dr. Morris between two and a half and thirty years. The great respect for Dr. Morris' work, commitment to excellence and personal ethics was clear in every conversation. Some of the many words heard to describe Dr. Morris over and over are: "icon," "great listener," "goes beyond the call of duty," "smart," "works incredibly well with people," "integrity," "dedicated," "#1 concern is for students," "approachable," "fair", "role model", "truthful", and "patient."
Dr. James Morris currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) where he has worked for almost thirty years. His duties as Chief Operating Officer include managing the offices of the Information Technology, Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services, School Police, Human Resources, Environmental Health and Safety, the Transportation Branch, Food Services, the Procurement Services Group, Risk Management and Insurance Services, and all school operations. In this role, he supervises approximately 15,000 employees of the District ranging from part-time workers to executive-level positions.
His prior assignments include serving as Chief of Staff for three Superintendents over five years and serving as Local District Superintendent for District 2 in LAUSD supervising 100 schools and over 100,000 students and families in the east and northeast San Fernando Valley. James Morris began his career in LAUSD in 1981 and has worked as a teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal in south and East Los Angeles as well as the San Fernando Valley.
He also worked for several years as the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and was instrumental in implementing some of the Districts successful instructional reform initiatives. His undergraduate work was completed at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He earned a Master's degree in Educational Administration at California State University Los Angeles and a Doctor of Education degree at University of California Los Angeles.
Dr. Morris and his family look forward to moving to Fremont and becoming an integral part of the Fremont community.
Fremont Unified School District is comprised of 42 schools including 29 elementary, 5 junior high, 6 high schools, an adult school, and the Mission Valley ROP. We serve over 31,000 students, over 8,000 adult students and have 3,000 classified and certificated staff. Our mission is to provide equitable opportunities that educate, challenge, and inspire students of all ages, talents, and ability levels while preparing each with the skills required to adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world. For more information visit www.fremont.k12.ca.us.