Burlington-Edison School District named its incoming superintendent, Chris Pearson, following a Monday, March 13, unanimous school board vote.
Pearson is currently the executive director of teaching and learning at Marysville School District. Within the Burlington-Edison School District, he previously served as principal of Allen and West View elementary schools, and the dean of students at the high school. Pearson was also superintendent of Madison International School in Merida, Mexico, and is bilingual. He is expected to start July 1.
“Dr. Pearson was selected from a large pool of well-qualified applicants for his demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion, collaborative approach to instructional leadership, support for co-curricular activities, and his rich, diverse background that resonated with students, staff, families and the community,” the district stated in a Monday release.
The decision concludes a monthslong superintendent hiring process that piqued the interest of community members and students who saw the current district leader’s retirement as an opportunity to hire a superintendent of color to head the majority Latino district. Through community, student and staff forums, many advocated for candidates of color who were bilingual, and many were left dismayed by the announcement of the six semifinalists: five white men and one Latina woman.
Around 750 people responded by signing a change.org petition calling for better representation and more diverse candidates.
On March 4, a small group of community members demonstrated outside the Burlington-Edison High School library, where the six semifinalist interviews were taking place inside. The school board, originally slated to make a decision on March 10, pushed back the timeline to March 13 to “thoughtfully process and consider all of the comments and survey responses from the community,” the district stated.
Pearson addressed the demonstration in his interview with the school board, telling them he wants to engage with all community members and welcomes all viewpoints.
Pearson could not immediately be reached for comment.
This story will be updated.