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San Mateo County Health websites FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     Contact: Bettylu Smith
                                                         Sequoia Union High School District
                                                         (650) 369-1411, ext. 2361

                   Sequoia district names new superintendent

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., March 17, 2010 – At the board meeting this evening, Sequoia Union High School District trustees announced the appointment of James Lianides, Ed.D., as the new superintendent of the 8,200-student district in southern San Mateo County, effective July 1.

Lianides, who currently serves as assistant superintendent and chief business officer of the Sequoia district, will succeed Superintendent Patrick Gemma, Ed.D., who retires on June 30 after more than seven years at the helm.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Lianides ready to succeed Superintendent Gemma,” said board president Olivia Martinez, Ed.D. “Dr. Lianides has a strong grasp of the needs of the district, and he understands the critical issues – locally, statewide and nationally. He’s also filled all the chairs over the course of his 30-year career in public education – teacher, principal, chief business officer, and superintendent.”

Immediately prior to joining the Sequoia district, Lianides served as superintendent of the Pacifica School District.

“We are confident that Dr. Lianides will successfully leverage the momentum gained in the past couple of years, particularly in terms of continued progress in fulfilling the district’s 21st-century vision and five-year goals. At the same time, he will contribute new ideas and leadership to the upward trajectory achieved during Dr. Gemma’s tenure,” Martinez said.

Since joining the Sequoia district in 2008, Lianides has overseen the district’s $100 million budget during California’s current fiscal crisis, the fallout of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy and other significant financial developments.

In leading the administrative services division for the district, Lianides has overseen construction of major capital projects, acquisition of a new student information system, and negotiation of agreements with charter schools, including the unique agreement reached last month with Aspire Public Schools. Lianides has also been involved in advancement of the district’s career technical education initiative.

“There’ll be no ‘down time’ during this pivotal transition,” noted Martinez, “which is particularly important now, with the significant challenges we currently face. Transition to Dr. Lianides promises to be smooth, without interruption to the ongoing work and achievements of our outstanding staff and excellent schools."

Lianides’ roots in the Sequoia district community date back to his childhood. He graduated from the district’s Woodside High School, as did his own two sons. He continues to reside with his family in Redwood City, and he is currently a member of the Redwood City Rotary Club.

Following graduation from the University of California-Berkeley, Lianides, who is fluent in Spanish, taught bilingual classes in Los Angeles and Redwood City public schools and later served as principal of schools in Half Moon Bay and Mt. View.

He joined the Pacifica School District in 1999 as chief business officer. During his tenure in that role, he was recognized statewide as Business Services Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators.

Lianides was named superintendent of the Pacifica School District in 2006. That same year, he earned his doctorate in education through a joint doctoral program in leadership for educational equity sponsored by UC-Berkeley and California State University.

The contract agreement with the new superintendent, which is currently being negotiated, will go before the board at an open meeting in upcoming weeks.


New School Superintendent



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