LUSD chief gets extension to lead district to 2022
“The state had some budget issues from 2008 to 2012, and she (Cathy Nichols-Washer) was able to get the district through some hard times. Not all school districts can say that.”
Gary Knackstedt, president Lodi Unified School District board
Lodi Unified School District’s superintendent will be leading the agency through 2022.
The LUSD Board of Education on Tuesday night unanimously approved a one-year contract extension for Cathy Nichols-Washer.
The approval lengthens her contract through June 30, 2022.
In 2016, the board and Nichols-Washer agreed on a three-year contract with a base salary of $248,676, according to school district documents.
With that contract’s approval, her salary would be increased annually by the same percentage as other district managers.
For the 2018-19 school year, her salary was $268,296. There were no details on Tuesday’s agenda as to how much the superintendent’s salary would increase.
According to district spokeswoman Chelsea Vongehr, the board can extend the contract each year so it remains a three-year term.
Board president Gary Knackstedt on Wednesday said he was more than pleased her contract had been extended.
“She’s been a real positive leader for the district,” he said. “The state had some budget issues from 2008 to 2012, and she was able to get the district through some hard times. Not all school districts can say that.”
In 2009, the state government proposed a budget that included $15 billion in cuts to services, including $8.1 billion in cuts to education.
Despite the state’s financial crisis, Nichols-Washer was able to expand several programs, including Career Technical Education at both Lincoln Technical Academy and the district’s high schools.
“She’s valuable to our district and we’re lucky to have her,” Knackstedt added.
Prior to coming to LUSD in 2008, Nichols-Washer served as superintendent for Manteca Unified School District for eight years.
Her 11-year tenure in Lodi makes her the second-longest serving superintendent in the state. She also has the distinction of being the first woman to become district superintendent.
“I feel very fortunate to have served the Lodi Unified community for over a decade,” Nichols-Washer said in a statement Wednesday.
“We have an excellent board of education who really cares about the students, and the district is strong on all levels. It is truly a great place to work and learn, and I’m excited for the district’s future.”
The extension was initially scheduled to be approved at the June 18 meeting, but board member Courtney Porter requested the item be tabled, citing he and his colleagues were still conducting an evaluation of the superintendent’s performance.
At that meeting, he said he felt the board was rushing to approve the extension, and that it should be given extra time to provide NicholsWasher with more feedback before any approvals.
On Tuesday, he expressed his support for Nichols-Washer and the extension to her contract.
“I look forward to our next meeting in a positive way so our superintendent has a clear idea of what this board wants, so she can go forward with her expertise and lead this school district as well as she has done over the many years as our superintendent,” he said.