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Former Glendale Unified superintendent finds new calling in Ontario

Glendale Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Winfred Roberson, Jr. at a school board meeting
Former Glendale Unified Supt. Winfred B. Roberson, let go in January after three years, will become the next principal at Ontario Mariposa Elementary School.
(Tim Berger / Glendale News Press)

Former Glendale Unified Supt. Winfred B. Roberson, dismissed from his job as top administrator in January after three years with the local school district, will become the next principal at Mariposa Elementary School on Monday after his hiring approval last month during a meeting of the Ontario-Montclair school board.

Mariposa is located approximately 43 miles southeast of Glendale Unified’s headquarters, and Roberson’s new position will be nearly equally as far in terms of responsibilities from his old post.

Roberson will manage approximately 700 students and 75 staffers at Mariposa after previously overseeing Glendale Unified’s 32 schools, approximately 26,000 students and 3,520 employees.

“When the panel of stakeholders from Mariposa, which consisted of teachers and classified [employees], parents and some of our district representatives went through a first- and then a second-level interview, Mr. Roberson just floated to the top,” said Mariposa alumnus Hector Macias, the Ontario-Montclair School District’s assistant superintendent of human resources.

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He added, “Mariposa is a very unique school setting. It has a very diverse population. Both first- and second-generation families are there.”

While 50.7% of Glendale Unified students enrolled in the free-or-reduced-priced lunch program designated for low-income families last year, that number was 88% at Ontario-Montclair, Macias said.

“Our whole district is a Title I district across the board,” Macias said in reference to the designation for schools with large low-income student populations.

Macias said he thinks Roberson will build “critical relationships” between the administration and parents.

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A board agenda from Ontario-Montclair school board’s June 13 meeting noted the hire took place with a 4-0 vote during a closed-door session on May 16.

With his hiring, Roberson joins a school district headed by Supt. James Q. Hammond.

Hammond left the Davis Joint Unified School District in 2010 to join Ontario-Montclair and was replaced as superintendent by Roberson, who was eventually hired on Aug. 1, 2016, as Glendale Unified’s first African American superintendent.

Roberson was dismissed without cause via a 3-2 vote by the Glendale Unified school board during a closed-door session on Jan. 29.

Roberson, however, continued to receive a salary from Glendale Unified as his contract with the district extends to March 2020.

Roberson was replaced temporarily by interim Supt. Kelly King and then permanently by former Los Angeles Unified Deputy Supt. Vivian Ekchian, who also begins her first day in her new position on Monday.

Former Glendale Unified board president Greg Krikorian, who voted for dismissal, said he was pleased Roberson found employment.

“I’m happy for him and his family,” Krikorian said. “I’m sure it’s a good fit for him, and I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

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While Roberson’s dismissal surprised many, Krikorian said it was important for Glendale Unified school officials to move quickly back in January.

“Timing was one of the big reasons in our transition,” Krikorian said. “The timing was appropriate for him for a career move to search educational institutions because they hire in the spring.”

Roberson was unavailable for comment.

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