Gilpatric to step down as Nevada City superintendent after school year
Nevada City School District Superintendent Roxanne Gilpatric will retire at the end of the current school year, after six years at the district’s helm.
Gilpatric informed the district’s board of trustees of her decision on March 16.
The board will take a formal vote to accept her retirement, which comes one year before her contract with the district was set to expire, at tonight’s board meeting; the meeting starts at 5 p.m. at 800 Hoover Lane in Nevada City.
Gilpatric said her retirement was motivated by family matters. She’s planning to relocate to Nevada to spend more time with her son, who lives in Reno. She said she’ll also devote more time to caring for her 87-year-old mother.
She called her decision “bittersweet,” and said she only has positive reflections on her time in the district.
“I’ve loved living here,” Gilpatric said. “Every day I get up and I like coming to work, so I think, ‘Well, that’s a great note to end my career on.’”
That career spans 34 years in education. Gilpatric was hired as the district’s superintendent in 2009; before that, she spent two years as the assistant superintendent in the Rincon Valley Union School District in Sonoma County and more than six years as an administrator and director in the Sacramento City Unified School District.
She began her career as a teacher in Colusa County.
After accepting the superintendent position in the Nevada City School District, Gilpatric was tasked with guiding the district through several years of budget cuts, school closures and staff layoffs — creating, at times, contentious relationships with the district’s teachers.
Last May, more than 25 teachers, backed by the Nevada City Faculty Association, issued a vote of no confidence in Gilpatric; in a letter presented to the district’s board of trustees, teachers cited concerns over the way Gilpatric administered the school and over policies dictating staff retirement pay and paid time off.
Gilpatric acknowledged her staff for their commitment to their students throughout the changes of the past several years.
“I don’t think they always liked the choices that were made, but I think they understood the difficulty that our school district was facing,” Gilpatric said. “I had to do, in collaboration with the board, what would keep our school district afloat.”
Board President Joshua Pack commended Gilpatric’s ability to make tough decisions that were in the best interest of the district.
“She helped us navigate the waters of the recession and the difficulties that came with that,” Pack said. “The district owes her a debt of gratitude for that.”
Gilpatric’s last day as superintendent will be June 18. The board is scheduled to discuss the process for replacing her at tonight’s meeting.
“We want to make sure we have the opportunity to find the person who is the best match for the Nevada City School District,” Pack said.
Gilpatric said her focus between now and June will be on finalizing the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan and budget to help ensure a smooth transition for her replacement.
“I don’t want to leave anything unfinished,” she said.
Gilpatric said she’ll miss the daily interaction she has with staff, parents and, especially, students, and emphasized the important role that schools play in children’s lives.
“Parents put their faith in us as educators,” Gilpatric said, adding that the district’s goal is to provide education that inspires all students “so they continue to love coming to school.”
That fits with what Pack described as Gilpatric’s central philosophy in her position.
“I believe her mission throughout her career and as superintendent in the district is ‘children first,’” Pack said. “Everything that goes on in the district, the decisions she’s made and the actions she’s taken have been with a ‘children first’ mentality, and that bodes well for her legacy.”
To contact Staff Writer Emily Lavin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.
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