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On one his first days on the job in 2009, Jonathan P. Raymond recalls a parent imploring him to “please take risks for kids.” He had just come on board as Superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), one of the top 1% of largest school districts in the country and one of the most impoverished and ethnically diverse. During his 4.5-year tenure, those were words he vowed to live by.

An outsider to education by trade (formerly a labor law attorney and non-profit leader) but a passionate advocate for equity and system-wide change, Raymond implemented bold initiatives to transform the school district around a vision that focused on supporting the whole child. Highlights included transforming some of the district’s poorest performing schools in the neediest neighborhoods to some of the highest performing, raising graduation rates, expanding early education, summer learning programs, dual-language programs, college and career pathways, and introducing salad bars and healthier meals, and social and emotional learning to the curriculum.  His journey in Sacramento was about changing the culture in the neediest schools and throughout the school district to one of excellence and demonstrating, in a time of great financial stress, that we can do something dramatic and bold when kids' futures are at stake.

Raymond previously served as President of the Stuart Foundation, a California-based private foundation focused on systemic and sustained change in public education, under the guiding principle of an education system that values the Whole Child by strengthening the relationships between students, educators, families, and communities.

Stay connected with Jonathan Raymond via TwitterLinkedIn, and his Whole Child blog