Randolph E. Ward Compton Unified School District
Dr. Randolph E. Ward’s teaching career spans more than two decades. Fluent in Spanish and English, he has been a teacher in schools in North and South America, including two one-year stints in Colombia and Venezuela. Before becoming the fifth state appointed administrator for the Compton Unified School District in 1996, Dr. Ward was an elementary school principal and an area superintendent for the Long Beach Unified School District.
After a ten year state takeover, Dr. Ward is credited with restoring fiscal and academic responsibility to the Compton Unified School District, a school district that was $20 million in debt and had the lowest test scores in California. Under his leadership the district’s infrastructure was rebuilt from the ground up in order to build the capacity for student achievement district wide, and ultimately increase test scores four consecutive years. Focusing on student achievement, accountability and safety, he instituted corrective reading, accelerated learning classrooms for retained students, an extended school year, an all day primary learning program as well as many other academic improvement programs. In 2002, 84% of Compton’s schools improved their Academic Performance Index scores and the percentage of black males graduating from Compton’s high schools with the required University of California and California State College required courses exceeds the state’s average.
Dr. Ward trimmed administrative overhead, forged new alliances with the community and district unions, authorized tens of millions of dollars in emergency school repairs, completed a multimillion-dollar facilities modernization and technology infrastructure project, and developed and implemented a Master Facilities Plan. In 2001, CUSD made history by becoming the first state takeover to repay its bankruptcy loan.
To fight grade inflation, Dr. Ward introduced a standardized grading program that relied on course content, writing rubrics, and standards-based assessments. Under his tutelage, staff and student attendance increased, high school graduation rates rose, college enrollments skyrocketed, advanced placement courses vastly expanded, community involvement improved, and the California Achievement Test (CAT5) and Stanford 9 Test scores improved continuously. School crime rates also plunged dramatically, because of initiatives such as school community policing, school site parent safety committees, the We-Tip hotline, mandatory school uniforms in K-8, zero-tolerance for weapons, and the use of enhanced alarm technology throughout the schools in the district.
Dr. Ward’s nationally recognized environmentally-based school facilities grading program met with so much success that its criteria was expanded to include elements related to academic and instructional site-based programs. His inclusive approach and collaborative leadership style has taken administrators and staff, schools and parents, and the Black and Latino communities to new levels of cooperation and achievement. Dr. Ward has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Tufts University, a Masters in School Leadership from Harvard and another in Educational Administration from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He also has an Ed.D. in Policy, Planning, and Administration from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.