23 to watch in 2023: Amie Carter, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools-elect
Name: Dr. Amie Carter
Title or position: Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools-elect
On the job since: In January, she will succeed Dr. Steve Herrington, Sonoma County’s current schools chief, who has led the Office of Education for more than a decade. The agency has a budget of $75 million and 325 employees.
Carter, an assistant superintendent of schools in Marin County, has worked in Northern California schools for the past two decades, including as principal at Rancho Cotate High School and Thomas Page Elementary in the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District.
Hometown: Petaluma. Carter grew up a tight-knit Mormon community in Utah and has five children. She attended college at Northern Arizona University, earned her master’s degree at Cal State Stanislaus and a doctorate at USC.
Why Carter is someone to watch:
Carter, elected in November, will be the first openly gay Sonoma County schools superintendent and the first woman to hold the position in the county since 1926.
She is taking over the top job at the county’s Office of Education during a time of looming budget pressure, sharply declining student test scores during the COVID-19 pandemic, and wide shortages in the local teacher workforce.
She brings with her more than 20 years of school administration experience and “a fresh perspective,” she said.
What others are saying about Carter:
“Dr. Carter helps run the office with energy and resources to help bring diversity into our workforce. I anticipate that she will continue doing what we have started with her own personal goals that she’s outlined in her campaign,” said Herrington, the county’s outgoing schools chief.
What Carter says about 2023:
She plans to spend her first 90 days in office connecting with the community and listening to feedback.
In addition, she has three key priorities in the upcoming year: improving and expanding mental health resources across the county’s 40 public school districts, diversifying the teacher workforce and helping students transition from high school straight into careers.
“Being the first woman in the role in 100 years tells you about the need for a culture shift. I have the opportunity to come in with a fresh perspective. Having been a person that had a marginalized experience, that plays heavily in my mind when I look at a new organization and I’m going to approach problems through that lens in a fresh way,” Carter said.
“Too often we have wasted the opportunity to come together as a county around some of the issues our schools face, so I want to take advantage of some of the those opportunities and lead our 40 superintendents in a more aligned way. There’s great strength when we act as a county around issues that are important to us,” she said.
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