BUSD Superintendent Hired

By Rio Bauce
Friday December 21, 2007

The Berkeley Board of Education announced Wedesday that Bill Huyett, superintendent of the Lodi Unified School District, will replace outgoing superinten-dent Michele Lawrence when she retires Feb. 2.  

News that Huyett was the choice to be the new superintendent for the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) relieved many at Berkeley High School who said they had worried about who the replacement would be after Lawrence announced her resignation in September.  

“I think it’s great,” said Keenan Nelson-Barer, a senior at BHS. “I hope that the new superintendent can listen to the students’ and parents’ needs and respond to them effectively.”  

Some parents had criticized Lawrence for having a top-down approach that had many feeling left out of the process. 

“I hope that the new superintendent will be able to be supportive of the teachers,” said Matt Meyer, Berkeley High AP government and economics teacher. I look forward to working with the new energy. I also hope that we are able to negotiate a good contract between the Berkeley Federation of Teachers and the BUSD.”  

The Berkeley school board hired a consulting group to conduct meetings with Berkeley High School staff, parents and students among other groups in late September.  

Since then, the district has been in the process of choosing a new superintendent. After interviewing the candidates for the final time on Dec. 8, they picked Huyett as the leading choice. Then Tuesday, five members of the school board and a group of 20 community members visited a school site on E. Vine Street in Lodi to assess Huyett in his home district. 

Students at Berkeley High Thursday said they are interested to see how someone from a suburban school district will be able to adjust to a politically heated urban atmosphere like Berkeley.  

“I think that it will be interesting to see how he fits into the district, coming all the way from Lodi,” said BHS senior Emma Bloom.  

Huyett began teaching high school mathematics in 1974 in the Elk Grove school district. After a couple of years he was promoted to middle and high school principal and then became assistant superintendent.  

In 1996, he became the superintendent of the Dixon Unified School District. He spent four years there before moving to the Lodi Unified School District, which is twice the size and has double the budget of Berkeley’s school district. He holds a B.A. in mechanical engineering and an M.A. in mathematics from the University of Virgina.  

According to information provided by BUSD, Huyett took an active role in addressing diversity and inequities of achievement in Lodi, increasing the hiring of underrepresented teachers from 14 percent to 33 percent. He also oversaw a construction campaign that added eight new schools to the district. 

“I think you have to look at what Bill’s done, and his legacy is not hard to identify,” said Lodi Board Trustee Peter Johnson, when interviewed by the Stockton Record. “The most significant thing to me is that he’s always had a policy of open communication. Whether you agree or disagree with the direction he wants to take, he always leaves room for communication.”  

Lodi Board President Ken Davis told the Record: “Bill has done a good job, and we will be sorry to see him go. He made a lot of strides here. When we hired him, we were looking for someone that could help this district grow. We liked that he had a background in engineering and understood financing.”