Brent Stephens has been selected as a finalist for the position of Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) Superintendent. The search for a new superintendent has been going on since January, when BUSD’s current superintendent, Donald Evans, announced he was planning to retire this summer. Evans’s retirement announcement initially sparked Stephens’s interest in the position of BUSD Superintendent. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Berkeley community.
Stephens is the current Chief Academic Officer of the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). “That means I’m responsible for supporting the curriculum in all San Francisco schools, the high schools, middle schools, elementary and even pre-K,” he said.
Evans’s new role as superintendent will be an adjustment, since the position will differ greatly from the tasks he performed as the Chief Academic Officer. The change from SFUSD to BUSD is a big jump, as Berkeley is much smaller than San Francisco. Nevertheless, these changes excite Stephens. “I’m extremely looking forward to working in Berkeley … In a smaller community, [I would be able] to develop relationships with students and families,” Stephens said.
“I’m extremely looking forward to working in Berkeley … In a smaller community, [I would be able] to develop relationships with students and families.”
Currently, Berkeley’s School Board of Education is undergoing background checks as well as ensuring Stephens’s qualification. However, due to Stephens’s enthusiasm and passion for the position, BUSD is planning to officially welcome Stephens on May 8 when the Berkeley School Board makes the final vote.“If I win the vote, getting the position will be official,” he said.
Stephens is driven by his excitement for working in Berkeley. As a city, Berkeley has always interested him. “It’s a goal of mine to work in a community of excellence,” Stephens said.
Furthermore, it is very important to him that he works in an environment with values that match his. He feels that Berkeley can meet his expecations.
“My personal values and professional values are directly aligned to the things Berkeley cares about,” Stephens said. Some of these shared values include increasing equity, helping students gain opportunities, and empowering them to achieve at their highest potential.
Stephens is also thoroughly impressed by Berkeley High School (BHS) students and said he believes “Berkeley [High School] cares about having graduates who actually make positive change in the world.”
In coming months, Stephens plans to familiarize himself with Berkeley and develop relationships with various Berkeley community members. He is also planning to form objectives that will benefit Berkeley students and the surrounding community. Stephens is very excited to interact with students and to continue to empower them, specifically student leaders. “I extremely value working with student leaders and working with their enthusiasm and helping them make a difference,” said Stephens. “I’m excited and thrilled for this opportunity.”