BRAWLEY — Brawley Elementary School District will be facing the upcoming school year with new faces, including a new superintendent, Dr. Richard Rundhaug.

Rundhaug has a bachelor’s degree, two masters — one in business and one in educational leadership — and a doctorate in educational K–12 leadership. He formerly served as the director of research and assessment in the Yuma Union High School District in Arizona and has spent the last year as interim principal in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.

During his consulting years, Rundhaug was part of transitional work helping schools get out of at-risk statuses. He said he wanted to get back into a more permanent position and location, and so sought the position at Santa Barbara. 

“It gave me an opportunity to remember what it’s like to be at a site again,” said Rundhaug. “Being able to have a connection with students again was good for me.”

Since then, Rundhaug has been in more permanent site positions as superintendent of Willcox Unified School District, interim superintendent of the Liberty Elementary School District, assistant superintendent of the Coolidge Unified School District, and director and consultant for A Plus Educators. He also brings a rich history of growing schools from the ground up to Brawley. With the new middle school plans in the works, Rundhaug felt his experience would mesh well with BESD’s goals.

“There is a lot of potential here and I’m enthusiastic about that,” said Rundhaug.

Rundhaug said his goal for this and coming years is to develop a system that will help determine where students stand individually in their education. He said the district will be looking into test banks that will predict how students will do on the Smarter Balance Test, or SBAC. According to Rundhaug, by predicting where a student’s weaknesses are, teachers will be able to intervene and help them better understand a concept.

 “We really need to make education as specific as possible for students,” said Rundhaug.

This, according to Rundhaug, also helps address special ed needs, addressing a student’s educational needs without the label and stigma that comes with it. After looking into the results of the test bank, teachers and schools will be able to figure out the best intervention plan to address an individual student’s needs.

Rundhaug added that he wants the students to be able to make positive, future career connections with education. Individual education will allow them to make those types of connections.

“If we make things individualized, we will help students make connections with the real world.”

Rundhaug also plans to be available when activities are going on or extra adult supervision is needed. He said he is excited to be a part of BESD and a resident of Brawley.

“I remember when I was a student, the superintendent was someone you waved to every now and then,” said Rundhaug, “I would like to be more than that, someone the students can come up to and say hello.”

Rundhaug will kick off the school year with the rest of the Brawley Elementary School District on August 19.

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