By Kathy Chouteau
Superintendent Matthew Duffy of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) has announced that the current 2020-2021 school year will be his last heading up the district.
Duffy expressed in a community message that, while he has elected not to seek contract renewal, he intends to work with the newly elected Board of Education for a smooth transition as he completes the school year. He also indicated he will focus on helping the district map out its return to in-person instruction when it can be done safely and in alignment state and local health guidelines.
“It has been an unbelievable blessing for me and my family to have shared in the story of the West Contra Costa Unified School District for the last five years,” Duffy said. “I have done everything in my power to act to make the district a better place. This District is unique and complex, stretching itself to serve many different cities and communities. It has been an absolute joy to work to meet the needs of so many different people.”
Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election point to four-out-of-five WCCUSD Board of Education members being new. It is the district’s first election after the transition to trustee areas.
“In December, four new members will be seated on the five-member governing board,” said Duffy. “The community has spoken and they want fresh leadership perspectives to guide the future of our schools. The current board should defer to this new crop of leaders to give them the space and time to fully own the process of finding my replacement.”
Duffy has faced some public criticism since last year, when the district’s predicted deficit rose from $10 million to $48 million; however the books will close this school year with a small surplus, per EdSource. At his performance review in June of this year, Duffy’s contract was not automatically extended after the school year.
During his five-year tenure leading the WCCUSD—the seventh largest school district in the Bay Area—Duffy marked many achievements, among them increasing graduation rates and significantly reducing suspensions and expulsions, particularly for African American and Latino students; creating the Bay Area’s first district-run Mandarin language immersion school; and completing three new campuses at Pinole Valley High School, Nystrom Elementary School and the recently opened Michelle Obama School.