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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.