Yosemite Unified School District Superintendent Jim Sargent has resigned from his position for a spot with the Madera County Office of Education.
Sargent, with a 32-year career in education, served as superintendent for the Caruthers Unified School District for four years prior to coming to Oakhurst to assume his new leadership position on July 1, 2012.
Sargent, who received his administrative credential from Fresno State, started his career in 1980, and worked for 10 years in higher education, including six years as the associate dean of students and men’s basketball coach at Fresno Pacific College.
Sargent filled the YUSD position of Steve Raupp, whose last day as the district’s superintendent was June 29, 2012, before his retirement.
YUSD is made up of Yosemite High School and Coarsegold and Rivergold Elementary schools.
At the time of his hiring, Sargent said YUSD had an outstanding reputation throughout the Central Valley as a top notch, quality school district, and that he was thrilled and honored to be the district’s new superintendent. His number one goal was to maintain the quality programs in the district at both the elementary and high school levels.
Sargent said the past four-plus years working with the district and the community have been some of the most rewarding in his professional career.
“I want to express my appreciation for the outstanding community support and leadership, starting with the Yosemite Unified School District Board of Trustees,” Sargent said. “I am proud of what we were able to accomplish together and it has been very gratifying to see the successes of our students. I am confident the future of YUSD will be bright. It has been an honor to be part of the history of Yosemite Unified.”
Sargent lead the district through the transition to the new Local Control Funding Formula and increased public engagement through the Local Control Accountability Plan process. He leaves a new leadership team with expertise in the areas of business and fiscal management, school site leadership, and special education.
During his tenure Career Technical Education programs have been expanded, enrollment has increased, art programs have grown, new reading and behavior intervention specialists have been added to the elementary schools, strong school safety programs (including partnership with Madera County Sheriff’s Office for an on-campus resource officer at YHS, and health services have been upgraded district wide.
During Sargent’s term as superintendent, Yosemite Unified went from a ‘qualified’ budget to a ‘positive’ budget certification. Sargent said he is proud of his involvement in helping rebuild a lot of the school district programs such as career technical education, art and athletics.
With the completion of Federal E-rate program funding this fall, all school sites will have 1 gigabite of internet bandwidth to support the continued development of curriculum and instruction and digital opportunities.
Sargent also helped establish new independent study programs that allow students more options for their education.
Sargent points out that all the improvements within the district have been a team effort.
YUSD Trustee Tammy Loveland said the board was sad to see Sargent leave.
“He has done an outstanding job while here at Yosemite Unified,” Loveland said. “Mr. Sargent has built a great support staff here as all exceptional leaders do - so the district will continue to make forward progress even though he will be gone. We wish him the very best as he moves forward with his career and sincerely thank him for a job well done.”
“My new position will be a rewarding new chapter for me,” Sargent said. “I would like to personally thank the board members of the district for their constant and invaluable support during my entire tenure - it has been a privilege working for them.”
In a Sept. 9 prepared statement sent to district employees, Sargent said, “It has been truly humbling working alongside a staff with so many talented and passionate professionals in and out of the classrooms. Their work is inspirational. I would also like to express my thanks to so many members of the community with whom I have worked.”
His new position at the county level will include providing academic and leadership support to school districts through the Central Valley.
“It will be a unique opportunity to use the knowledge and skills I have learned serving as a superintendent in two districts and share that with others,” Sargent said. “I also look forward to spending some more time outside exploring the mountains and getting away to spend time with my children and soon to be three grandchildren.”
“I am looking forward to working with Mr. Sargent who brings tremendous talent and experience as a district superintendent to the county office to facilitate mentoring districts working with Local Control Accountability Plans, federal projects and a district perspective to the support role of the county office,” said Cecilia Massetti, Madera County Superintendent of Schools.
On Monday night, the district board of trustees appointed Assistant Superintendent Leonard Kahn Interim Superintendent. The board will proceed with hiring a consulting firm to begin the search process for Sargent’s replacement.