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Veteran Superintendents in Nevada and Oregon Square Off in Race for the AASA Presidency

Gustavo Balderas and David Jensen
Gustavo Balderas, left, and David Jensen, right, are the two candidates for AASA's presidency.

The election season for AASA members opens with the start of the 2023 National Conference on Education as a pair of veteran superintendents who work in Nevada and Oregon vie for the association’s presidency.

Voting officially launches at 7 a.m. ET (8 a.m. in San Antonio, Texas) on Thursday, Feb. 16, for balloting between contenders Gustavo Balderas and David Jensen for the right to serve as president-elect of AASA beginning July 1. The top vote getter assumes the AASA presidency the following July.

Voting members will receive their official ballot by e-mail. If a member previously opted not to receive an electronic ballot, she or he will receive a paper copy in the mail. Only about a dozen members have chosen the latter route for voting in 2023.

 The deadline for voting is 11:59 p.m. ET on March 10. The election result will be announced the week of March 13, according to Kat Sturdevant, advocacy and governance coordinator at AASA.

Whoever emerges as victor will follow two years of New Yorkers in the AASA presidency with Gladys Cruz serving in 2023-24 and Shari Camhi in 2022-23.

Here’s a brief biographical overview of the two presidential candidates.

Gustavo Balderas headshot

Gustavo Balderas has served since 2022 as superintendent in Beaverton, Ore., after serving as superintendent in Edmonds, Wash.; Eugene, Ore., and two California districts. He first joined AASA as a member in 2011.

Balderas is a current member of the AASA Executive Committee and is the president of Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. He was named National Superintendent of the Year and Oregon Superintendent of the Year in 2020.

His post-secondary degrees: D.Ed., University of Oregon; M.S., Portland State University, Portland Ore.; B.A., Western Oregon State College, Monmouth Ore.

In his candidacy packet, Balderas said if elected to the presidency, this would be his No. 1 priority: “Our public schools have a moral imperative to serve every student, and must have strong, skilled leadership to meet that mission. As president-elect my top priority would be leadership sustainability in the superintendent ranks. Supporting current and aspiring superintendents today helps ensure tomorrow’s schools will have the leadership they need.”

David A. Jensen has served since 2012 as superintendent of Humboldt County School District in Winnemucca, Nev., after serving as assistant superintendent and chief financial officer in the district for four years. He has been an AASA member since 2006.

Jensen is in his fifth year as a member of the AASA Governing Board. He served on the Nevada State Board of Education and was Nevada Superintendent of the Year in 2017. He is a past president of the Nevada Association of School Superintendents.

His post-secondary degrees: Ed.D., University of Nevada Reno; M.S. and specialist degree, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; B.S, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

In his candidacy packet, Jensen said if elected to the presidency, this would be his No. 1 priority: “I will advocate for opportunities beyond the traditional school setting to include personalized learning models that meet individual student needs.  This priority would utilize the expansive technology-based educational services available to tailor education and meet every student’s personal needs.  It’s time to re-envision public education for our nation’s students.”

Balderas and Jensen will flesh out their platforms at a presidential forum at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 17, in Room 302-A of the convention center in San Antonio.

(Jay Goldman is editor-in-chief of Conference Daily Online and editor of AASA’s School Administrator magazine.)  

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