WEST BURBANK — Retiring Supt. Kevin Jolly’s one-year tenure ends Wednesday, setting the stage for a new school district chief who will oversee union agreements and reduced state education funding.
Jolly expects to know his next superintendent post by mid-July, but he declined to say where he was under consideration. He said the past year, in which he resigned six months into leading Burbank Unified, was a learning experience.
“Being able to learn and grow in this position and to work so closely with an active, involved community and very strong Board of Trustees has only helped me to grow and improve and be part of a great educational system,” he said. “So I have strongly benefited being associated with the district and community.”
Jolly declined to comment on the circumstances that led to his departure, but advised his successor, Stan Carrizosa, that success requires community involvement.
“I would recommend that he get immediately involved in all of the activities in the community and to establish a great working relationship with the community leaders and to be involved in the classroom,” Jolly said. “I know he is doing each of those things already, so I know he’ll be very successful.”
Carrizosa has toured Burbank Unified’s campuses and continues to meet with staff, city and civic groups.
“We’ve done at least enough preparation to hit the ground running,” Carrizosa said. “I feel comfortable, I’ve got a lot of experience in the superintendency, so I know the work. I just want to meet the people and build relationships.”
But Carrizosa has yet to reach out to the Burbank Teachers Assn., said the union’s president, Jerry Mullady. Superintendents are most successful when they bring teachers into the process, he said.
“I barely got to know Kevin,” Mullady said. “I think if anything that’s been learned this year, the superintendent needs to see the bargaining units as an equal partner with them, not as someone to be bullied around.”
Teachers should be partners and consulted before actions are taken or decisions made, he said.
“It’s the culture of the school district that’s been around forever,” Mullady said.
Carrizosa said he understands the importance of building a team, especially in Burbank, where he said the classic game “six degrees of separation” is “more like 0.5 degrees in Burbank.”
“Burbank has a lot of the things that fit my core values,” he said. “It’s a very traditional community, with a lot of hometown and homegrown influences and a lot of people who stay here for a long, long, long time.”
With that in mind, Carrizosa said he has the education and experience to be an effective communicator.
“To the extent there’s been any disconnect,” he said, “I’m hoping to provide opportunities to reconnect.”