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July 3, 2013
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New superintendent hired to lead Nevada Joint Union District


The hiring of Louise Bennicoff Johnson as the new superintendent of the Nevada Joint Union High School District was announced at a board meeting Wednesday night.

Johnson served as superintendent for the Ripon Unified School District from 2008 to 2013.

Before her time in Ripon, Johnson served as superintendent of Konocti Unified School District for four years.

She previously taught chemistry and geology at Temple City High School. Johnson also served as principal and director of curriculum and instruction.

“I am so excited. (My husband) Jeff and I love this community and spent a lot of time wanting to move here,” Johnson said. “I love high school and am intrigued to work with the high school. It’s a wonderful opportunity to help young people.”

Board President Katy Schwarz said Johnson’s experience made her a choice candidate.

“She has the teaching background, which is important to teachers, and administrative and superintendent experience,” Schwarz said. “She is very qualified and very professional. We are hopeful that our staff will work well with her and believe it is a good opportunity for us.”

Following the termination of former Superintendent Marianne Cartan’s contract on March 13, the board sought the assistance of the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office to facilitate the superintendent search and interview process. The district board provided online surveys and community input meetings in April, which were followed by the interviewing of five candidates June 18.

“She is a great candidate,” said Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Holly Hermansen. “The process was very smooth. The board took everything very seriously and worked very well together.”

Johnson said her breadth of experience in the teaching and administrative world, as well as work with geographically wide districts, will make her a good fit here.

“I believe I have the perfect mix of both worlds,” she said. “I’ve had experience with a high-achieving school district and have experience in Lake County, which is a very geographically large school district with small outlying rural areas.”

Johnson said she will take time to gain input from the schools and host a community input meeting to address concerns and is prepared to face challenges.

“I plan to take 90 to 100 days to get to know and listen to people and their concerns and will have a meeting open to the community,” Johnson said. “In previous districts we were able to come together and weather the storm.”

During the meeting, Johnson was supported by her husband, who also voiced his excitement at the change.

“We’re big fans of Nevada County,” Jeff Johnson said. “We love the community and environment.”

Currently the couple has homes in Ripon and Sacramento, though they plan to make the search for a home in Nevada County a top priority, they said.

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email jterman@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.


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The Union Updated Jul 4, 2013 12:57PM Published Jul 4, 2013 06:45PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.