Arturo Valdez has been named as LACOE's new chief academic officer, replacing Dayton Gilleland who retired on June 30.

Valdez brings 32 years of experience in public education at the elementary, middle and high school levels -- most recently as secondary director in LAUSD's Local District East, where he supervised 16 principals.

Beginning as a teacher's assistant, he spent nearly a decade as a vice principal and principal, helping struggling schools get back on track.

Valdez believes that school success requires that "we create diverse learning communities where parents are partners, practitioners are reflective and children are at the center of all that we do."

He plans to focus on three specific areas: unwavering focus on academic achievement; school culture, climate and infrastructure; and leadership that supports high achievement for students and staff.

As chief academic officer, Valdez oversees LACOE Educational Services, which includes the divisions of Accountability, Support and Monitoring, Curriculum and Instructional Services, Special Education, Student Support Services and the Head Start and GAIN programs.

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