“We’re the second largest school district in the state and the 18th largest in the nation,” said McQuary of SDUSD, which he added has responsibility for 130,000 students and 15,000 school district employees.
“The district has a $1.2 billion budget with 1,000 vehicles, of which 500 are school buses, serving 200 schools on 187 school sites,” noted McQuary, a lifelong educator.
Subdistrict C includes 18 elementary schools, five middle schools, four senior high schools and a dozen atypical/charter schools.
McQuary’s resume reads like a Who’s Who. He’s been a teacher, a principal, a union member and now a school board member. He acquired his elementary and secondary teaching credentials at San Francisco State and has taught in inner city schools in San Francisco, rural schools in Tulare County and suburban schools in Santa Cruz County. He’s the father of three and the grandfather of five. His two daughters have master's degrees. His son is a soldier who’s done tours of Korea, Kosovo and Iraq.
McQuary also was president of a local teachers union, has been a member of several administrative bargaining teams and has taught courses at the college level (College of the Sequoias and Fresno Pacific College).
“I know what a good school looks like, and I’m excited to be a player (in making that happen),” he said.
McQuary and Barnett have been working together for months to ensure a smooth transition in the school district leadership.
“We wanted to make sure that I could catch all the balls that got thrown in the air,” said McQuary of Barnett’s tutelage. “There’s a few projects we’re (Subdistrict C’s) still working on, he’s (Barnett’s) still a player and we’re teaming together: It was a great handoff.”
McQuary applauded Barnett as a “singular voice on the board” and for being passionate about his role, noting “he’s accomplished a great deal.”
McQuary pointed out SDUSD continues to face a funding dilemma, given that the state of California, during its current fiscal crisis, has slashed education funding.
“We’re getting 50 percent less funding from the state than 10 years ago and have about the same number of students,” noted McQuary, adding, “Any business would be challenged to take a 50 percent cut and do the same job.”
Funding cuts have forced the SDUSD board to “make tough decisions,” said McQuary in carrying out the district’s “Vision 2020,” a long-term strategy for moving the district forward.
“We’re implementing that (Vision 2020) with excellent instruction in every classroom and quality schools in every neighborhood with the high expectation of being the best school district in the United States,” McQuary said, adding the district’s vision needs to be extended even further.
“We need to make sure students in the district are globally competitive, making sure students are multilingual and multicultural,” he said.
McQuary pledged to “work to make a difference” as a school district board member.
“We need to take the funding we get and spend it more wisely as well as having greater transparency and accountability,” he said.
Subdistrict C’s new leader said SDUSD also needs to redouble its efforts to involve the public in its decision making.
“We need to be more collaborative in talking to stakeholders to ensure we have ground-up, school-based decision making, ensuring parents and students in our community have the opportunity to state their concerns, McQuary said.
McQuary said the school district ought to extend its efforts out more into the community, suggesting the district should work together with organizations like beautifulPB, which is in the process of implementing an ecodistrict to make the beach community more environmentally sustainable and more pedestrian friendly.
For McQuary, leading a school district is all about collaboration. He said his administration will “be an opportunity for all the community players to work together, form partnerships and do collective planning.”