The Mill Valley School District Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr. Elizabeth Kaufman has been selected as the new superintendent of schools. The Board voted unanimously to approve Dr. Kaufman’s appointment at the May 24th board meeting. Dr. Kaufman will officially begin her position on July 1, 2023.
Michele Crncich Hodge, Board President shared, “We are beyond thrilled to have such a dynamic leader like Dr. Kaufman as our next superintendent. Dr. Kaufman impresses and inspires with her genuine love of the work and the people she serves. In Dr. Kaufman’s words, she leads from both her head and heart. Dr. Kaufman rose above a highly competitive candidate pool with her in-depth expertise in curriculum and instruction (TK-12), her clear understanding of our Mill Valley/Tamalpais Union community, and her unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Moreover, Dr. Kaufman brings a proven track record of collaborating to innovate and solve difficult problems; she is a transparent and trustworthy leader who will bring authenticity and a great sense of humor to her role as superintendent.”
Stakeholder input for the qualities, skills, and traits of the new superintendent was extensive and included sessions with 25 various stakeholder groups in addition to an online survey, which received nearly 500 responses. Leveraging this robust information, Leadership Associates, a top search firm, conducted an exhaustive and thoughtful search. The Board selected Dr. Kaufman from an incredibly talented and impressive list of candidates.
Additionally, prior to making a final decision, the Board brought together a representative group of stakeholders from the Mill Valley school community to conduct a validation visit at Sonoma Valley Unified School District. This group included Mill Valley School Board trustees Natalie Katz and Sharon Nakatani; MVTA union co-president, Erin Frazier; CSEA union president, Sandy Agajan; Mill Valley Middle School principal, Danny Chui; Director of Student Support Services, Erin Conklin; and MVSD parent and incoming Executive Director of Kiddo!, Jessica Newman.
On May 17th, the group met with a cross-section of Dr. Kaufman’s colleagues, including Board members, site and district staff, labor partner leaders, and parent and community organization representatives. Without exception, Dr. Kaufman was described as being highly student-centered with a focus on data and evidence-based decision-making. The Sonoma Valley community attested that Dr. Kaufman is a tireless champion for rigorous, outstanding educational programs and curricula, with a constant focus on “ensuring accessibility and equity for all students.” She was also noted for her dedication to building trust and fostering cultures of collaboration, inclusion, and transparency, where all stakeholders have a platform to feel heard and informed. It was noted by current and previous Sonoma Valley Board members that Dr. Kaufman “has the capacity to bring humor and empathy to all situations.”
Dr. Kaufman brings to the role of superintendent varied and deep leadership experience. She earned her Doctorate in Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco, her Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction from Dominican University, and her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Reed College. She currently wears two hats, serving as both Acting Superintendent and Associate Superintendent for Educational Services in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District. She has also served as a high school superintendent and principal at all TK-12 levels, including the principal of a dual immersion school. Significant to the Mill Valley community, Dr. Kaufman has been a special education and gifted program director, an elementary teacher, and Dr. Kaufman comes with Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services experience in the Tamalpais Union High School District.
Dr. Kaufman speaks fluent Spanish and has a strong commitment to equity and inclusion work through participation with organizations such as the National Equity Project, Epoch Education, USC’s Urban Superintendent’s Academy, and Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Center for Advanced Educational Leadership. In addition to these credentials, Dr. Kaufman possesses a certification in school business management and has engaged communities in successful parcel tax and general obligation bond measures.
Dr. Kaufman notes that her mother attended Archie Williams High School (then Drake High School) years ago and shared her awe of the Mill Valley community both in its natural beauty and its deep support of its children. She says, “I am humbled to return to serve Mill Valley children and families at this important time. I am excited to partner with the Mill Valley Board, staff, parents, students, and community to continue the tradition of educational excellence in the district. It is important to me to be part of this community. I welcome invitations to become involved!“
Dr. Kaufman has twin daughters who are nineteen and a son who will turn sixteen in June. She currently lives in Petaluma.
The district is pleased to host a meet-and-greet opportunity for students, parents, staff, and community members to welcome and connect with Dr. Kaufman on June 7th, prior to the Regular Board Meeting. Details to follow through our ParentSquare district communication platform and through other public communication channels.
The Mill Valley School District Board of Trustees proudly announces that after a thorough and extensive search, it has unanimously reached agreement on a finalist for its next superintendent. Dr. Elizabeth Kaufman, current interim superintendent for the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, was selected to be the finalist. The board was impressed, not only by Dr. Kaufman’s qualifications but by her authentic professionalism and integrity.
She will begin her services on July 1, 2023, conditional on a successful validation visit, approval, and ratification of her employment.
The Board of Trustees would like to take this opportunity to thank Leadership Associates for bringing us a number of incredibly well-qualified candidates. It was clear our search team, Marc Ecker, Blanca Cavazos, Jacki Horejs, and Penny Pyle heard the various desires and directives of our stakeholders and brought us candidates that were an excellent fit for the criteria. We also wish to express a special and heartfelt "thank you“ to board Executive Assistant, Ms. Anna Russell. Ms. Russell went the extra mile to provide critical district support throughout the search process. Her deep dedication to the highest form of professionalism was and continues to be invaluable to the efficacy and effectiveness of our board work.
Superintendent Position Description
Superintendent Search Timeline
The Board is working with Leadership Associates to conduct a rigorous, nationwide search. The Board will seek, receive, consider and review all input from the community, review all candidate applications, interview those candidates determined by the Board and select the new Superintendent.
The Board will be soliciting input on the characteristics, experience, and skills desired in the next Superintendent via an online survey and stakeholder conference sessions.
All information gathered will be presented to the Board and then compiled, summarized, and incorporated into the Superintendent Position Profile / Description, which will be published here following Board review.
By law, the Board is solely responsible for hiring the new Superintendent. The Board will seek, receive, and consider all input from the community, review all applications, interview those candidates determined by the Board, and select the new Superintendent.