Jacqueline A. Cardenas

Jacqueline A. Cardenas

PEARBLOSSOM — It’s official. Keppel Union School District’s new superintendent is Jacqueline A. Cardenas.

Keppel trustees unanimously appointed Cardenas and approved her three-year, $180,000-a-year contract with the district during a Thursday night meeting conducted via a Google Hangouts webinar.

Board President Dominique Ballante introduced Cardenas to the more than 50 people who signed in for the meeting as the “star of the day.”

“The members of the Board of Education are proud to announce the appointment of Dr. Jacqueline A. Cardenas in Keppel Union School District,” Ballante said. “Dr. Cardenas has had a distinguished career as an educator.”

Cardenas most recently served as assistant superintendent of Educational Services at El Rancho Unified School District in Pico Rivera. As El Rancho’s chief academic officer, Cardenas supervised educational programs from transitional kindergarten through 12th grade, resulting in academic gains for students across the District, Ballante said.

“She developed programs to advance achievement for English learners, expanded dual language immersion programs, provided development for teachers and principals, managed extensive budgets, and oversaw the local accountability plan, LCAP,” Ballante said. “Her leadership in El Rancho was noted by many of her former colleagues, who indicated that she is a sensitive and caring professional who leads by example and always puts students’ needs first.”

Cardenas has more than 21 years’ administrative experience. She worked for El Rancho Unified for about three years. She previously served as director of curriculum and instruction for Los Nietos School District for more than seven years. She has also served as an administrator at the elementary, middle, high school and District levels.

Cardenas has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social behavior with a minor in Spanish from the University of California, Irvine. She has a master of science in educational administration — Organizational Leadership from National University and a doctor of education in organizational leadership from Brandman University.

“Dr. Cardenas looks forward with great enthusiasm to joining the Keppel family,” Ballante said. “Her goal is opening doors to infinite possibility. She is committed to ensuring student safety at this critical time. She’s also committed to building a culture of trust and transparency, engaging with all staff and community members. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Jacqueline Cardenas as our new leader.”

Keppel trustees hired The Cos­ca Group in April to find the district’s new superintendent after Superintendent Ruben Zepeda died of a heart attack March 6.

“It is an honor and privilege to be named the superintendent of schools for the Keppel Union School District,” Cardenas said.

Cardenas thanked the board for placing its trust in her to lead the district during this time.

“A time that will require us to be hopeful, resilient, patient and united in making the best decisions to safeguard the safety and wellbeing of students and staff alike,” Cardenas said. “Together we will ensure that students receive a world class education and that all stakeholders feel respected, supported and valued so that they may do their best work and experience success at Keppel.”

Cardenas also honored Zepeda.

“I had great respect for your previous Superintendent Dr. Zepeda, a colleague that I met and knew professionally as a fellow school administrator,” Cardenas said. “I am certain that I will transition seamlessly to provide continuity in the district while upholding Dr. Zepeda’s legacy.”

Cardenas’ first day was Friday.  Cardenas and Keppel trustees will hold a special workshop study session today to go over plans for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 academic year.

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