2012-03-15 / Front Page

Dan Stepenosky named LVUSD superintendent

By Stephanie Bertholdo


GO DAD—Newly appointed Las Virgenes Unified School District superintendent Dan Stepenosky near his Calabasas home with children Sean, 6, and Kearston, 8. Wife Sharon not shown. 
Photo courtesy Sharon Stepenosky GO DAD—Newly appointed Las Virgenes Unified School District superintendent Dan Stepenosky near his Calabasas home with children Sean, 6, and Kearston, 8. Wife Sharon not shown. Photo courtesy Sharon Stepenosky Dan Stepenosky, Las Virgenes Unified School District deputy superintendent, will take charge as LVUSD superintendent on Aug. 1.

Stepenosky will replace Superintendent Donald Zimring, teacher, principal and administrator with LVUSD for more than three decades who has served as superintendent since 2007.

Stepenosky was seen by the school board as a natural choice for the job. He joined the district as assistant superintendent of personnel in 2006 and was recently appointed to deputy superintendent.

“I am very humbled and excited,” Stepenosky said on Tuesday.

School board President Cindy Iser said Stepenosky had proven he was capable of handling the top job because of his honed leadership skills and loyalty to the community and the district.

“We are saving money and time, and we are protecting the organization from the intangible cost of a learning curve, by not looking outside the district,” Iser said. “Dan knows our culture, our schools, our students and our community. And we know Dan. The point is, we have the right person at the right time, right here at home.”

Stepenosky reflected on his growth in the district.

“I’m most proud of the strong relationship we have built with our associations—certificated and classified,” he said. “We focus on solving problems and not positions. We also have a tremendous leadership team in place. If you look at our hires over the last six years they have been terrific and are leading LVUSD with great success.”

Iser lauded Stepenosky’s ability to build and strengthen relationships with teacher unions, parent associations, city officials and business leaders.

“This eliminates a critical learning curve that most new superintendent’s face, and will allow him to focus squarely on the business of the district,” Iser said.

Stepenosky, 43, said he plans to keep a “laser sharp focus” on student learning opportunities and collaboration between teachers, parents, administrators and students.

While state budget impacts on public education loom large, Stepenosky sees a brighter future.

“Out of adversity comes opportunity,” he said. “The silver lining for these challenging financial times is that we are examining everything. We’re leaving no stone unturned. The commitment of our staff, (including) teachers, principals, classified, grounds keepers, custodians (and) counselors, is truly inspiring. They are ensuring that our children are having a quality experience. For me it’s all about relationships, the relationship between the teacher and child, the principal and child.”

He said he will seek “direct and blunt input” from principals, teachers and others to solve problems that arise and “find ways to say yes” to new programs.

Zimring said Stepenosky has brought energy and enthusiasm to his job. “He is vested in the community, vested in this district,” Zimring said.

Stepenosky and his wife, Sharon, have lived in Calabasas for 11 years. Their children attend Mariposa Elementary School in Agoura Hills. “My wife and I want both of our children to receive an outstanding education, and this desire is something we have in common with all parents of students in this district,” Stepenosky said.

Zimring said Stepenosky “knows our organization, our people, our students and our purpose. And just as I was guided by superintendents before me, I am personally committed to offer to Dan the kind of candor and support that is essential to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. He will do a wonderful job.”

Zimring’s contract was not renewed and he accepted the position of Headmaster of Schools for Brandeis/Hillel, a multi-campus independent Jewish day school in the Bay Area.

Stepenosky was principal at Beverly Hills High School before coming to LVUSD.

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