Brian Biedermann, director of educational services for Stockton Unified School District has been selected by the Board of Trustees to serve as interim superintendent when current Superintendent John Deasy officially steps down in June.
“I just love giving back and trying to make this community better,” Biedermann. “And this is a great opportunity to do that.”
Stockton Unified’s board interviewed candidates for the interim superintendent position during a closed-session meeting last Friday, ultimately voting 6-1 in favor of hiring Biedermann, Board Trustee Candelaria Vargas said Tuesday. Trustee Angelann Flores was the lone dissenting vote.
Last month, the board voted 4-3 at a special meeting to accept the resignation of Deasy, who will officially end his two-year tenure on June 15, a year before his contract was set to expire.
Biedermann has been with the district for 21 years. He received graduate education degrees from the University of the Pacific before becoming a high school social sciences teacher at SUSD.
He was an assistant principal at Edison before becoming principal in 2009. During his tenure, Edison was named a national AVID Demonstration School, saw large gains in graduation rates and decreases in suspensions and expulsions, and received a mention from President Barack Obama on Edison’s new STEM building and program in his 2014 State of the Union Address.
Biedermann’s hiring comes on the heels of public outcry and contention among board members last month regarding the possible hiring of controversial former Superintendent Jack McLaughlin as a consultant to help in the hiring process for Deasy’s replacement.
McLaughlin served as SUSD superintendent from 2006 to 2008. He retired after a stormy reign that was marred by a football recruiting scandal at Franklin High School, the loss of millions in federal grants and fractious politics that split the district for years.
The board ultimately voted April 28 to delay approving a contract to hire McLaughlin’s company, JJet, Inc., through the end of this year. McLaughlin withdrew from consideration a week later.
Due to recent tensions among board members, as well as the current crisis caused by COVID-19, Bieddermann described becoming interim superintendent of Stockton Unified as both an “honor“ and a “stressful opportunity.”
Each trustee cares about the district’s students, Biedermann says, and he wants to help bring board members together based on that common denominator.
“It’s my job to kind of build those relationships so we can push the district forward,” Biedermann said.
He will also work to help Stockton Unified survive the COVID-19 pandemic, Biedermann said.
“Which we are,” he said.
While she couldn’t comment on closed-session proceedings by the board regarding why Biedermann was chosen, Vargas did say she was happy that board members have agreed on a public process for hiring both an interim and permanent superintendent.
“I hope that we continue to follow the process and respecting community inclusion,” Vargas said.
A subcommittee of board trustees — consisting of Lange Luntao, Flores and Board President Kathy Garcia — will work in the coming weeks to bring a contract recommendation for Biedermann before the board at a future regularly-scheduled meeting, Vargas said.
“I would like to continue to encourage the public remain involved in the permanent superintendent search process,” Vargas said, adding that members of the public should submit comments to the board by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The board’s next meeting is scheduled for June 9.
Contact reporter Cassie Dickman at (209) 546-8299 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @byCassieDickman.