The Davis School Board was unanimous in voting to appoint John Bowes as the next Superintendent of the Davis Joint Unified School District.
The school board hired a consulting firm to conduct a nationwide search and Dr. Bowes was the preferred candidate because of “his long and distinguished record of successful leadership in diverse educational environments, his commitment to youth and demonstrated skills in community engagement.”
“We are confident that we have found a superb match for our school community. He is the perfect fit for Davis, both in his experience and his values,” Board President Madhavi Sunder stated. “Dr. Bowes will be a strong superintendent who will bring intelligence, deep experience in all areas of school administration, a tireless work ethic, a positive approach to challenges and, most importantly, an inspired commitment to children and the promise of public education.”
The board had used Leadership Associates, a national school executive search firm, a press release noted. The search advisors recruited regional and national candidates to best assist the board in developing a broad and diverse field of candidates to find the best match for Davis. The board interviewed six candidates from the pool last week and selected John Bowes as the preferred finalist.
Dr. Bowes leaves his present position as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in the high-performing Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District.
Board Member Susan Lovenburg stated, “During our recent visit to Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, the board met with twenty-nine of Dr. Bowes’ colleagues including teachers and support staff, principals, district administrators, board members, parents, and the superintendent. Solo and chorus, they described John as open, honest, thorough, patient, thoughtful, respectful, transparent, conscientious and unflappable.
“They praised his integrity and sense of humor, and his strength as both a good manager and an instructional leader. It was clear to us that our initial impression was well-founded and that John Bowes is the right fit for the Davis community.”
Vice President of the Board Barbara Archer added, “We are so pleased to welcome Dr. John Bowes. His deep experience as an educator and administrator coupled with his student-centered approach and his interest in social justice make him a great fit for the Davis superintendency.”
John Bowes told the Vanguard, “My career goal has been to be a superintendent and I wanted to find the district that was the right fit.”
He said that there are three things which attracted him to Davis. First, he said, is that “they have a tradition of success in trying to develop innovative programs focused on students.” Second, there is “really strong community support. That’s evidenced by the number of parcel tax ballots that have been passed over the years.”
Third, Dr. Bowes noted that a huge difference between his 25 years at LA Unified and his last few at Palos Verdes has been the “community environment.” “Being able to try to craft local solutions… to local programs and challenges has had a real impact on my work. I’ve been able to apply everything I learned at LAUSD in a much more focused and wise way and that’s led to pretty good outcomes.”
He said, “Putting all of those things together is what attracted me, sparked an interest in Davis when the opportunity arose.”
There are clear challenges facing this district, especially with regard to the parcel tax and the renewal of Prop. 30 and “the positive or negative impacts those could have on district finances.”
Dr. Bowes has previously served in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in many capacities, including as a bilingual teacher (English and Spanish), principal, and administrator. As a principal in the LAUSD he led an elementary school with a diverse student population to high achievement for all students.
Dr. Bowes earned his Ed.D. from UCLA, a Masters of Arts in Educational Administration from California Lutheran University, his Professional Administrative credential from UC Santa Barbara and his B.S. degrees in Finance and Management with minors in English and Sociology from Virginia Tech. Additionally, he holds Leading Edge Digital Administrator Certification and a California Association of School Business Officials Certification.
Dr. Bowes is fluent in Spanish and describes himself as someone empathetic to language learners who are often facing multiple challenges of learning to read, write and acclimate to a new culture.
“I am excited that Davis has a two-way Bilingual and a Spanish Immersion program in the district. Bilingualism is a wonderful skill to come out of a K-12 experience and can lead to greater opportunities in the future,” Dr. Bowes stated in the district press release.
Board President Sunder noted, “Dr. Bowes’ early work in the Peace Corps in Guatemala will also help him advance what we hope to be the District’s increasingly global outlook.”
Dr. Bowes will officially take over the DJUSD Superintendent post on July 1, 2016. As part of his transition to Davis, he met this week with Davis school and department leadership. He will be moving to the area in June with his fiancée Cheryl, with whom he will be celebrating a ten-year anniversary in August. Dr. Bowes and his fiancée each have two adult children. The older two recently have graduated college and the younger siblings will be entering their junior years at university.
“Davis is a terrific community with a rich tradition in quality instruction, strong community support demonstrated by volunteerism and the local parcel tax, and a commitment to students. I am excited Davis has taken the lead on areas of social justice, restorative practice and equity,” said Dr. Bowes in the press release. “Davis is a great match for me. I am looking forward to working with everyone to move good programs to great programs and great programs to exemplary ones.”
On Thursday evening, Dr. Bowes took part in a reception prior to the board meeting at which his appointment was confirmed. At that reception, he was introduced to parents, staff and community stakeholders.
“I look forward to joining the community and building strong connections in Davis Joint Unified,” said Dr. Bowes.
President Sunder summarized the board’s decision, “He understands the demands and aspirations of a community that values excellent public schools. He has big shoes to fill in the superintendent position; we are confident that he will fill those shoes well.”
Dr. Bowes told the Vanguard his early focus will be on meeting people and getting to know the community better. The Vanguard will have the full interview with him this weekend.
—David M. Greenwald reporting