The Colusa Unified School District announced the hiring of a new superintendent last week.
Jeff Turner grew up in Idaho and began his teaching career in a rural school district.
He eventually relocated to southern California and served as a principal and then became assistant superintendent.
For five years, he’s been serving as superintendent at Mesa Union School District in Somis.
Turner said when he saw that Colusa was starting their superintendent search, he felt that he possesses attributes that they were looking for.
“One thing that stood out to me was their desire for someone to come and make a visible difference in their schools and communities and I’m looking forward to working with the schools and community to make that difference,” Turner said.
The small-town, farming community aspect of Colusa was another aspect that stuck out to him.
“I’m a farm kid from Idaho, so being connected to a small-town, agriculture based community is important to me and my wife,” Turner said. “... We made an instant connection with the community and that was important to us.”
He said part of the work that he’s proud of at Mesa Union School District is that they worked to construct electives for the students, such as building a school farm and starting an intro to agriculture class – Turner said he was excited to see Colusa’s school farm.
“My hope is to work with the community and staff to build upon their strong academic program and create opportunities for students at school and the community,” he said.
According to the press release, CUSD board trustees will be visiting Mesa Union School District in the coming weeks to learn how the district might best support Turner in his transition and to learn more about the programs for students that he has developed alongside his board of trustees and Mesa Union staff.
“We feel that Mr. Turner will be an excellent addition to our schools and community,” said Melissa Ortiz, CUSD board president, in a press release. “His past accomplishments, talent for asking great questions and passion for rural communities will be important ingredients in his success at CUSD.”
Turner said they are working to make sure he’s able to complete his work at Mesa Union while developing a timeline for him to start at Colusa Unified.
“(Turner) is looking forward to working closely with the Colusa community and staff to maximize opportunities for all CUSD students,” Ortiz said in the press release. “Mr. Turner believes that continuing to build a close partnership with local community colleges, University of California and California State University institutions, along with a strong career technical education program, is critical for the long-term success for our students and community.”
A welcome reception for Turner is scheduled prior to the school district’s board meeting on Feb. 10 at 4:15 p.m. in the board room at the Colusa Unified School District office.
“I’m looking forward to making connections with all students as we look to strengthen academic programs and create new opportunities,” Turner said.
Ortiz said the last Colusa Unified School District superintendent left in September 2019 and Bill Cornelius has been serving as the interim superintendent.