CCUSD Supt. Leslie Lockhart Announces Her Retirement After 23 Years in the District
April 22, 2021
CCUSD Superintendent Leslie Lockhart announced this week that she will be retiring from the school district after 23 years, including four years as superintendent.
"As many of you know, I have had some recent health challenges, and this has been an opportunity for me to reflect on what is truly important in my life," Lockhart told the Board of Education at its Tuesday night's meeting. "Tonight, it is with mixed emotions that I announce to the board and to the community that I will be retiring as Superintendent of CCUSD, effective June 30, 2021."
Lockhart was named Superintendent in January, 2018, after serving as Interim Superintendent for six months. The first African-American to serve as CCUSD Superintendent, Lockhart oversaw the district's increasing dedication to equity, diversion and inclusion – something she said the district continues to prioritize even after she is gone.
"I hope that our district continues to build on, explore, embrace and celebrate our diversity; and continuously work to be a shining example of how people of all races, religions, genders, and ethnicities can uplift and celebrate each other," she said. "I hope that we will seek opportunities to bring people together, make our differences something we acknowledge and honor, and fight racism and inequity at every turn."
Lockhart mentioned that she is proud of the strides CCUSD has taken to focus on the whole child and address students' mental health as well as their physical and academic health. She called the current leadership team "some of the most dedicated, professional, and outstanding leaders I have ever had the pleasure to work alongside" and saluted the district's teachers and staff for their excellence, especially in the wake of the pandemic that changed everything.
"They adapted. They learned. They innovated," she said. "In short, our teachers, administrators and staff put children first, and Culver City's children are better for their efforts. I want to thank them for the sacrifices they made over the past year and for the many, many ways in which they have helped CCUSD move forward."
Board President Tashon McKeithan thanked Lockhart for her service to the district.
"We appreciate Ms. Lockhart's leadership throughout the years, and especially over the past year through the COVID-19 pandemic," she said. "She has led our District in mitigating risks during this unprecedented time with a focus on the safety, learning, and social and emotional needs of our students, families and our community. Her departure is bittersweet. While it will be hard to see her go, we are very proud of her accomplishments here in the District and we are eager to see her enjoy the next chapter in her life."
McKeithan said the District will begin a search for Lockhart's replacement immediately.
Lockhart, whose children have attended CCUSD schools, has been an educator for 32 years and has deep roots in the District. She served as Assistant Principal at Culver City High School, and Principal of El Rincon Elementary School before moving to the District Office to be Director of Categorical Programs. She also served for seven years as Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources before being named Interim Superintendent in June, 2017 and ultimately Superintendent in January, 2018.
Lockhart earned a master's degrees in educational administration and business administration from Pepperdine University and a bachelor's degree from UCLA. Her list of accomplishments within CCUSD is extensive. As Assistant Principal of Culver City High School, Lockhart developed, maintained, evaluated, implemented and enhanced extracurricular activities that helped to promote student achievement and general student well-being. Lockhart also created the Student Inter-Cultural Advisory Committee where students were trained in the anti-hate and anti-bias curriculum.
During her tenure as Superintendent, Lockhart oversaw the districtwide move to distance learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the recent return of students to campus. In addition, she guided CCUSD – the third most diverse district in the state – as it developed a clear equity and inclusion focus that saw the development of an equity action plan and the start of an inclusion focal point at the District's elementary schools.