West Contra Costa Unified Hires New Superintendent

The West Contra Costa Unified School District hired a new superintendent from out of state last Wednesday. Dr. Kenneth “Chris” Hurst, Sr. most recently led the school district in Othello, Washington. He will be West Contra Costa Unified’s first permanent African American superintendent.

“I am excited to get to work in West Contra Costa Unified and about working together to provide a world-class educational experience for students that prepares them to be globally competent and allows them to compete and participate in our diverse and global society,” said Dr. Hurst. “I have an unwavering commitment and dedication to supporting a culture of inclusion and equity throughout the district and community, and what excites me is that we have a board and learning community interested in educational equity for all students.”

While Hurst was at the Othello School District, graduation rates jumped from 71% to 87%. He implemented new programs to aid social emotional learning and increased preschool readiness for kindergarten from 30% to over 98%.

Before coming to Washington, Hurst served as the associate superintendent of educational services at Oceanside Unified in San Diego County. He also previously worked for Poway Unified. He is a U.S. Marine veteran with over two decades of experience in education.

Dr. Hurst will replace Matthew Duffy, who has decided not to extend his contract. According to the Richmond Standard, the district conducted over 50 listening sessions and gathered input from more than 6,000 community members before making its choice. Thirty people had applied for the position. 

Read more from the Mercury News.