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Superintendent Dr. John Rubio Announces Decision to Leave District

5 mins read

Emery Unified Superintendent Dr. John Rubio announced his decision today that he will be leaving the district. Rubio has been the longest serving superintendent at EUSD over the last twenty years. The district saw a turnover of seven superintendents over the eleven years prior to his arrival. Rubio replaced previous school superintendent Debbra Lindo in 2014.

Rubio has seen his share of challenges and negative politics in Emery, but has overseen the important transition of the twelve-year ECCL project, and describes the district as being back on its feet and set for more improvements.

The district has been recently trying to promote itself to the public through videos like the one below shared on the district’s Facebook page:

Rubio made the announcement in a letter addressed to teachers and staff:

Dear Emery Family,

As we approach the beginning of the 5th year of my extended contract, I have made the decision to begin applying to larger school districts as I continue into the next step in my career.

I am very proud to be the first superintendent in 20 years to work in Emery for this long, and I remain absolutely delighted about how much the district has improved over these last four years in terms of our financial stability, the quality of our teaching staff, and the collaborative environment we have created together.


The High School graduation rate and the achievement of our English Language Learners both also increased last year, enrollment has been steady for the last several years, and we have a teacher’s contract that is respectful to your work. I think we may have another year of zero, or close to zero, deficit spending, and I am very confident that we will now see a positive increase in test scores.

I believe that these recent positive shifts, our changes in site leadership and staff, our strong fiscal status, and the move and set up of all of our staff into a beautiful new state of the art building, has us poised for many years of ongoing success and additional improvement.

I am very committed to the ongoing success of the district, and I wanted to make sure you heard this information from me first. I am sorry that I was not able to let you know in person, and, honestly, I didn’t want to say anything at our wonderful staff appreciation dinner a couple weeks back, because I wanted to keep the focus on our staff and our retirees.

Please know that I plan to continue to work up until June 30th 2018. If the district needs me to stay longer to assist with this transition in order to continue our great work together, I am happy to do so if I am available.

I will greatly miss all of you, the parents, and especially the absolutely brilliant and wonderful students here. I am overjoyed to have been part of the history of creating and moving us into our ECCL era.

You, and this district, have been most of my life for the last four years, and it has been an honor to serve as your superintendent. I have given it my all, and I am proud to have had this great experience and journey with all of you.

— Dr. John Rubio

New and veteran Emery leadership at national conference event.

“I am really happy to have stabilized and improved the school district.” Dr. Rubio provided in a statement sent through email. “I have hired the best principals and some really great staff, while encouraging difficult changes when I thought they were needed. We have really changed the course of the district, and I couldn’t have done it without the great team we now have at Emery. I still have another year left on my contract extension, but I think this is the perfect time for me to move to a larger school district, and I am very proud of where Emery now stands.”


“The reason we are doing better financially than many other school districts,” Rubio noted when asked of the current fiscal condition of district, “is we’ve cut our staff down to the bone for what’s possible as an organization that has to comply with numerous state reports and Education Code compliance issues. Therefore, while we run a very tight and fiscally smart shop, we also struggle greatly operationally without all of the staff and other departments that school districts typically employ. As the state continues to poorly fund all California school districts, and as districts continue to have to pay higher percentages for retirement benefits, all California school districts will have to continue to rely on their local residents and businesses to continue to support the most important part of our democracy – our public schools.”

Emery High principal Jessica Goode with Rubio at a recent academic awards event.

“The transformation that has taken place at Emery High School, and EUSD as a whole, is a testament to the leadership of Dr. Rubio,” added High School Principal Jessica Goode. “The faith he has put in us to move forward in establishing initiatives that we truly believe are in the best interest of all our students. I don’t know of another district in the Bay Area that puts the same percentage of resources into making college accessible to every, single student. We have truly been working towards equitable outcomes for all of our kids. My hope is that our work towards creating an equitable system that is not an agent of social reproduction will be encouraged and continued as he moves on.“

District staff Lisa Taymuree, Gracie Smith, and Clint Sockwell at the March 2018 Dinner with the Superintendent/Staff Appreciation Event.

“The District was fortunate to have the stewardship of John Rubio for the past four years,” added Longtime district employee Lisa Taymuree who has seen many superintendents over the years. “He came to the District at a pivotal time, when the ‘heavy lifting’ of the ECCL project demanded the Superintendent’s constant attention. Dr. Rubio was willing to spend more time on the District than was fair to ask of anyone. Additionally, he also changed and improved many systems and procedures, including the Student Information System (SIS) and the enrollment process. He made difficult and unpopular decisions in order to eliminate the structural deficit and went to the voters to renew the Parcel Tax. The fiscal health of the District has been stabilized while many other districts in the area struggle. He personally interviewed over two hundred candidates for leadership and teaching positions, many during the weekends when most superintendents are home relaxing. Our small district demands too much from a leader, and thankfully John Rubio was up to the task. He brought his considerable energy and laser focus to improving Emery USD and left us better than he found us. Thank you, John.”

Emery Teacher Association Union president Mark Davis and Rubio.

“The challenges have been many,” said Teacher Union President Mark Davis. “John clearly demonstrated his ability to effectively work with the City, two unions, the community as well as numerous outside agencies while pursuing the interests of the District. I can also promise you this; we will be hard pressed to find a harder working, more dedicated Superintendent than John Rubio.”

Dr. Rubio plans on working in the district until the end of June, 2018.

Featured Video: Rubio’s opening remarks at the district’s recent and annual Dinner with the Superintendent-Staff Appreciation event he started in 2016.

Keep tabs on Dr. Rubio online through his websites or

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


    • Why don’t you start a blog of your own and do so yourself if you’re so interested?

  1. I doubt that – he’s been talking about moving and not driving over the SF bridge for the last year.

    And, lets hope the school board wasn’t that foolish. He gave us great stability and higher work standards than I have ever seen here in my years here.

    The local haters have to deal with one thing – that the clear majority of our staff, and all three principals, all want him to stay another year.

    We have finally settled into ECCL in a positive way – though I’m sure some staff who would like to go back to the wild wild west freedom and lack of accountability we had before his arrival would obviously say otherwise. Lets see what we get now.

    Here are some of the comments I watched from the district website from some of the board members.

    • It may have been a coincidence but you showed two members who look like they supported the superintendent. I think it only takes three board members (majority) to make a decision like this.

  2. haha, I am sure that would be a juicier story (at his expense) and would help some of the needy get their emotional kicks and feelings of righteousness and power, though I agree that I would like to see what the others said, but what’s the point here, looks like we are losing someone who did a lot of good for our kids, and I thank him for his swift decision Sunday night but maybe more interesting question goes back to “is the board, or board majority (to the last comment), really that out of touch/sync with the staff and principals?” If so, wow.

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