Content Skip to content.
San Diego State University

Chinese Symposium

Dr. Randolph E. Ward

Dr. Randolph E. Ward  Photo - Thumbnail

Dr. Randolph E. Ward

San Diego County Superintendent of Schools
San Diego County Office of Education

Dr. Randolph E. Ward was hired as San Diego County Superintendent of Schools on June 29, 2006, and began his official duties in the new position on August 14 of that year.

Under his leadership, schools operated by the San Diego County Office of Education have undergone a technological transformation, leading to significantly greater student engagement and dramatic improvements in student achievement. On the California High School Exit Exam, 44% more students passed the math portion of the exam in 2011 than in 2007, and 35% more passed the English Language Arts portion in that period. Dr. Ward has also initiated a technological overhaul of the County Office of Education’s business, payroll and human resources functions. His Modernization, Improvement and Transformation Initiative will result in unprecedented efficiencies, saving tax dollars and providing more resources for County Office of Education and school district classrooms.

Dr. Ward’s leadership has resulted in powerful synergies between the County Office of Education and San Diego County business community, resulting in significant benefit for thousands of local students. His Unlimited Access initiative, supported by Qualcomm, AT&T, Google and Cricket, among others, resulted in the more than 1,500 underprivileged families receiving free access to broadband internet and home computers. His strong partnership with Bridgepoint Education has resulted in four years of title sponsorship from Bridgepoint’s Ashford University for the Emmy Award-winning Cox Presents A Salute to Teachers, the San Diego County Teacher of the Year Awards, as well as Bridgepoint’s sponsorship of glowing student and teacher recognition programs on NBC San Diego.

Dr. Ward led the $8 million expansion and upgrade of the historic, County Office of Education-operated Cuyamaca Outdoor School, site of the time-honored “6th Grade Camp” for several generations of San Diegans. Dr. Ward has helped lead the San Diego County Superintendents’ Achievement Gap Task Force (AGTF), initiating AGTF Superintendents and Principals Forums that have featured local school and district people and programs that have recorded data-documented improvements in achievement for all students, while also closing the gap achievement between students of different ethnic and income groups.

Dr. Ward led the organization to complete its first formal Strategic Plan. As part of that planning process he and the staff of the San Diego County Office of Education worked with educational and community leaders throughout the county to craft the specific elements of the new Strategic Plan.

Earlier in his tenure as County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ward and his staff coordinated the local education community’s response to the San Diego County wildfires of 2007, as well as facilitating the relationship between County Health officials and local schools in response to the H1N1 pandemic in 2009.

Dr. Ward serves on several local boards of directors, including the Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Council, the USS Midway Education Museum, the Workforce Investment Board, Junior Achievement, and the Financial Crisis Management Assistance Team.

Prior to being named San Diego County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ward was the state-appointed administrator of the Oakland Unified School District, from June 2003 until 2006. Under his leadership, student test scores in Oakland Unified increased significantly, with the largest increase in the Academic Performance Index (API) of any unified school district in the state.

In addition, drop-out rates in Oakland Unified declined, attendance increased district-wide, enrollment in Advanced Placement courses and the University of California and California State University-required course sequence increased, and school crime decreased significantly.

He was credited with closing a multi-million dollar budget shortfall, as well as generating unprecedented community involvement in the school system. During his tenure in Oakland the district passed a $430 million facilities bond measure, gaining 77 percent of the vote.

Prior to his tenure in Oakland, Dr. Ward was the state-appointed administrator in the Compton Unified School District from November of 1996 until June, 2003. In Compton, Ward is credited with restoring fiscal and academic solvency to the struggling school system.

Compton Unified was $20 million in debt and had the lowest test scores in California when Ward was appointed. Under his leadership the district’s infrastructure was rebuilt from the ground up. Student test scores increased five consecutive years, administrative overhead was reduced, and new alliances with the community were formed.

In June, 2001, Compton Unified made history by becoming the first school district taken over by the state to repay its bankruptcy loan. Prior to the Compton position, Dr. Ward served as an elementary school principal and then an area superintendent for the Long Beach Unified School District in California.

Ward’s education career began in 1979, as a preschool teacher in his hometown of Boston. Fluent in Spanish and English, he has also taught in Colombia and Venezuela.

Dr. Ward has a B.S. from Tufts University in Early Childhood Education and Mental Health, an Ed.M. in School Leadership from Harvard and another in Educational Administration from the University of Massachusetts. He also has an Ed.D. in Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

He is married and has two children, one boy and one girl.