Friday, May 13, 1994
School Board Member To
BELLEVUE - Richard
Hanks, a Bellevue School
Board member since
1992, will resign from the
board next month to move
to San Diego, where his
wife is superintendent of a
Hanks, 45, is principal of
White Center Heights
Elementary in the Highline
School District and an
eight-year resident of
Bellevue. When his wife,
Libia Gil, took the San
Diego-area job a year
ago, Hanks remained
here. Gil previously was
superintendent in the
Seattle School District.
How to replace Hanks for
the year remaining in his
term will be discussed next
week at the Bellevue
School Board meeting.
CVESD Superintendent Libia Gil and former husband Richard
Chula Vista district has
By Chris Moran,
San Diego Union-Tribune
June 18, 2009
Three new principals have
recently been appointed to
run campuses in the Chula
Vista Elementary School
Richard Hanks, who had
been principal at
Palmer Way Elementary
School in National City,
will lead Hedenkamp
Elementary in eastern
Monica Sorenson, who
had been a teachers
union leader in the
district, will serve as
principal of Chula Vista
Del Merlan, an educator
from Central California,
has been appointed
principal of Casillas
associate principals also
were promoted to principal.
The school year begins
Libia Gil's husband
by M. Larkins
April 14, 2008
It was obvious all along that Lowell Billings didn't believe in site-based management
Chula Vista Elementary School District's Superintendent Lowell Billings apparently watched
closely and learned from his predecessor Libia Gil, who promoted a system she called
"site-based management." Billings continues to promote the system.
But the system as implemented at CVESD always involved top-down decisionmaking, never
democracy at the school site.
It also involved laziness and neglect. So things would often get out of hand at various
schools, and then the district office would swoop in and fire people, or, if they were political
allies, bring them back to the district office for their own protection.
But now Lowell has a new problem. The school that is trying to make its own decisions is a
charter school. They don't seem to think that principal Erik Latoni should make all the
Once again, Lowell wants to swoop in and take control. He is threatening to to terminate the
charter of Feaster Elementary School because the people who run the school actually work
at the school. Instead of "site-based decisionmaking," this is now being called "a conflict of
interest" by Mr. Billings.
It's not ideas that matter at CVESD, it's words. And the meaning of the words changes
whenever the people in charge feel it's necessary.
It's probably worthwhile to note that CVESD recently rehired Daniel Shinoff of Stutz, Artiano
Shinoff & Holtz. Apparently the board was impressed with Shinoff's work at MiraCosta
College. I notice a striking similarity in the arguments used to attack Feaster Elementary
and the arguments used to justify the actions of the majority-bloc of trustees at MiraCosta.
Posted by Maura Larkins at 9:08 AM
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
CVESD has two bullying programs: the one they talk about, and the one they don't
Chula Vista Elementary School District boasts about its program that solves students
conflicts by talking them through.
CVESD has a different program for adults. It involves strict silence. The target of the bully
isn't told about secret attacks. She never hears the allegations. No one ever asks for her
side of the story. And she is usually one of the best and brightest teachers in the district. At
the same time, incompetent and dishonest teachers remain in their positions.
Top district administrators and the school board don't ask what the truth of the matter is.
They simply dismiss the victim of the attack from employment. And then their lawyers spend
tax dollars to defend the indefensible, instead of paying those tax dollars to the people who
should get them: employees and students.
Today is the final day of arguments in San Diego Superior Court in the Danielle Cozaihr
case, a case that fits the mold perfectly. Superintendent Lowell Billings testified yesterday,
making clear that he makes no personnel decisions himself, and then turning around and
saying that he is responsible for the decisions. He sounded like an uninvolved figurehead
who thinks he's among the highest paid public employees in the county simply because he
goes around being seen (apparently without seeing anything, or at least not remembering
what he sees.)
Five years ago, it seemed that Superintendent Libia Gil and Asst. Superintendent Richard
Werlin were the problem. They were pushed out, and replaced with new faces.
Now it's clear that Lowell Billings and Tom Cruz, their replacements, are equally
incompetent and mean-spirited.
How can this be? CVESD has a board of trustees consisting of five clones of George W.
Bush: they all try to stay as ignorant as possible, and they think they are so morally
superior that no matter what they do, God will approve.
This may be something that the "Christian" board members haven't thought of, or haven't
cared about: they have been given very specific instuctions: "Thou shalt not bear false
witness against thy neighbor." This is an admonition that Pamela Smith, Cheryl Cox/David
Bejarano, Bertha Lopez, Pat Judd, and Larry Cunningham disobey everytime they pay their
lawyers to perpetrate a fraud on the court.
What did Libia Gil bequeath to CVESD?
1) A top-down decision making system that calls itself
2) A culture of secrecy and dishonesty
Libby Gil, Richard Werlin & Jim Groth (CVE president) hoax
Libia Gil prevailed at CVESD
July 14, 2007
Former Superintendent Libia Gil remade the district in her own image, and it has
remained the same even though she herself was pushed out in March 2002.
[I suspect she was pushed out not because she broke the law, but because she
made such a mess of it.]
Gil beat the union (Chula Vista Educators) by co-opting and corrupting its
leaders, specifically Jim Groth, Virginia (Gina) Boyd, Tim O'Neill and the board of
They became like her, and achieved her goals instead of the goals they once had. It's no
surprise that the union endorsed in Chula Vista's 2006 elections the very same
incumbants that it had fought for so many years.
October 6, 2003
Libia Gil Withdraws
for Superintendent of
Seattle Public Schools
Dr. Libia Gil, one of four
Superintendent to visit
Seattle last week, has
withdrawn her name from
consideration. In an email
to School Board President
Nancy Waldman, Gil said
that she was "grateful for
the opportunity to meet
with each School Board
member and the many
staff, parents, students,
and community leaders
who understand the
priority for raising student
achievement levels for all
students." Dr. Gil cited the
"increasing polarization of
selection) process" as the
reason for withdrawing her
In concluding her email
Board's commitment to
identify the best
challenge of selecting a
leader who is the right fit
for Seattle Public Schools
is a formidable task and
the single most
of the School Board. I
applaud your efforts to
make the right decision
that will benefit all
children in the Seattle
Public School system."
School Board members
are reviewing hundreds of
comments received from
a broad range of
participated in candidate
interviews or public
forums on September 29
and 30. The Board is
scheduled to meet at 7
p.m. on Tuesday,
October 7 to make a
decision regarding the
|San Diego Education Report
Libia Gil resigned suddenly in 2002 from Chula Vista Elementary
Libia Gil resigned suddenly in 2002 from Chula Vista Elementary School District, claiming
that she preferred to work for New American Schools, a right-leaning group in Virginia. But
Ms. Gil never left San Diego, and repeatedly applied unsuccessfully for Superintendent
positions around the country (see column at left for one such venture).
New American Schools' web address seems to be for sale since it merged with American
Institutes of Research.
Ms. Gil has become involved in Targeted Leadership Consulting with her pals Amalia
Cudeiro and Maria Guasp.
Dr. Libia Gil Accepts Position With New American Schools
Board of Education Appoints Dr. Lowell Billings to Superintendent Position
June 21 2002
Dr. Libia S. Gil, Superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District, announced
that effective October 1, 2002 she has accepted a position as Chief Academic Officer of New
American Schools, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase
student achievement through comprehensive school improvement strategies.
Following Gil’s announcement, the Board of Education took unanimous action to appoint Dr.
Lowell Billings as the District’s new superintendent upon Dr. Gil’s departure.
In her capacity as Chief Academic Officer, Gill will be the chief advocate of the professional
educator’s perspective and chief counselor on leadership development.
Libia Gil has been the Superintendent of Schools in Chula Vista, the largest K-6 district in
California, since 1993. Since her arrival in Chula Vista, Dr. Gil has provided successful
leadership that has transformed the District into a decentralized organization that empowers
stakeholders at the school site to use data and a student-based decision-making process to
develop instructional direction. During Gil’s tenure, parents, staff, students, and community
members created a district vision, a set of strategic goals, and shared values that have
provided a framework for reform.
The Chula Vista Elementary School District has been the subject of numerous national
studies in recent years. Presently, CVESD is one of five districts in the nation with more than
three years of successive academic progress that are being studied by the Learning First
Alliance, representing the 12 largest national professional education associations including
AFT, NEA and PTA. The District is also one of a handful of districts selected across the
country for a study on comprehensive school improvement conducted by Policy Studies
Associates in Washington, DC. The University of Toronto/Johns Hopkins University and The
Ball Foundation are conducting other major studies of the District and its operations.
“It’s our loss but New American Schools’ gain,” CVESD Board President Bertha López stated.
“She’s a good leader and she’s going to be very successful wherever she goes because she
believes in high student achievement for all children as well as high standards for anyone
who works under her leadership.”
The New Superintendent
Lowell Billings has held several Assistant Superintendent positions in the Chula Vista
Elementary School District. He served as Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services
and Support from 1991 to 1994 and Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services and
Support during the 1994-1995 school year. He is currently Assistant Superintendent of
Business Services and Support, a position he has held since 1996.
Billings received his doctorate from Northern Arizona University. He was a Director of
Research, Projects and Technology and Principal of West View Elementary School in the
South Bay Union School District. Dr. Billings taught for 12 years in the Chula Vista
Elementary School District where he also served as a Mentor Teacher.
Dr. Billings is very active in the community. He is Vice President of Education for Junior
Achievements of San Diego County, Past President of the Boys & Girls Club of Chula Vista,
and a member of the Board of Directors of the Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center. He also
serves on an annual basis as a Key Team Member of the South Bay Family YMCA
Campaign for Youth.
“Our focus is on students first,” Dr. Billings stated. “My appointment as Superintendent is an
honor, but more importantly, a responsibility to this community and its children.”
“It’s not about a position or title,” Billings stressed, “but about team and commitment to share
vision and values. I want to thank the Board for their confidence and support and pledge to
provide leadership for continuous improvement. I also wish to express well wishes to Dr. Gil
as she embarks upon her new career opportunity. She has provided an enormous
contribution to this District, the community and, of course, the students.”
Libia S. Gil, PhD, Alliance for Education
downloaded Dec. 30, 2012
American Institutes for Research
Libia GilLibia Gil joined the American Institutes for Research to continue the work she
began as the chief academic officer of New American Schools. As senior fellow, Dr. Gil
provides counsel on leadership development initiatives and assists states and districts in
developing strategies for improving student achievement by bridging evidence from both
research and practice.
Dr. Gil is currently the lead consultant for the high school renewal efforts in the San Diego
Unified School District on behalf of Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation. Her focus on multiple strategies to address student
achievement gaps includes the creation of small schools and support for small learning
communities across the country.
For over nine years, Dr. Gil served as superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary
School District. During her tenure, she actively engaged the community in creating a
shared vision and core values that continue to serve as the foundation for goal-setting and
operations in the school district today.
Dr. Gil helped to successfully implement numerous school change models, including six
charter schools, and established partnerships with Edison Schools, Inc.; School Futures
Research Foundation; Accelerated Schools; Comer; MicroSociety; Standards-Based
Instruction; and the Ball Foundation. During this time, student academic performance
improved and survey results showed a greater satisfaction in the schools. In the years
since, Standard and Poor’s has continued to give the Chula Vista Elementary School
District an A-plus rating to reflect the district’s efficient management and its low centralized
Dr. Gil began her teaching career in the Los Angeles Unified School District and has taught
in various programs, including the English as a second language, bilingual education, and
gifted and talented programs. As a teacher, she and her colleagues created a successful
K–12 alternative school and numerous alternative classroom programs. In addition, Dr. Gil
has held a variety of administrative positions including school principal, area administrator,
and assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
In 2002, Dr. Gil received the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Prize in Education for her outstanding
leadership in the Chula Vista district. She is renowned for her work in redesigning central
office roles and functions to serve and support teaching and learning in the classrooms.
Dr. Gil holds a PhD in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis on bilingual and
multicultural education, from the University of Washington.
Libby Gil's book--written by principals during work time
The School Administrator May 2002| The Right Fit|
Principal Peer Evaluation: Promoting Success From Within
by Libia S. Gil
Reviewed by Perry Berkowitz
Assistant Professor of Education Administration, College of Saint Rose, Albany, N.Y.
For those of us who thoroughly enjoyed Libia Gil’s article in The School Administrator titled
“Principals Evaluating Peers” (October 1998), this book is a treat.
Gil has been superintendent in the Chula Vista Elementary School District since 1993. The
district is set in an area between San Diego and the Mexican border and contains 37
elementary schools enrolling almost 25,000 students. Sixty percent of the population is
In her book, Gil shows how she uses the principles of transformational leadership in working
collaboratively with principals to continuously improve their practice.
The Chula Vista system emphasizes student results. Accordingly, the phrase “site-based
decision making” has been changed to “student-based decision making,” and they mean it!
Principals are expected to lead and are given the tools they need. They help one another by
becoming critical friends, and assistant superintendents are required to assist at the sites.
Evaluation of principals is conducted solely by the superintendent. Confidentiality is honored
and thus the support system fosters high levels of trust. Judging from Gil’s depiction, the
process is demanding but results in significant growth. One principal describes a painful but
rewarding journey that began with placement on the superintendent’s “assistance plan” in
October 1997 and led to the principal’s turnaround success about 18 months later.
The framework for peer evaluation is described carefully and includes a rich collection of
documents used in Chula Vista. Principals’ performance standards focus on student
learning, community and parent satisfaction, competent management and leadership.
Principals are expected to be role models, exemplars of ethics and fairness, inspirational,
considerate and intellectually stimulating.
(Principal Peer Evaluation: Promoting Success From Within, by Libia S. Gil, Corwin Press,
Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2001, 88 pp. including index, $55.95 hardcover, $24.95 softcover.
Available from Amazon.com.)
Former CVESD employees,
ex-superintendent Libia Gil
and Marianna Vinson, are
making a splash at the US
Department of Education
Libia Gil's years at Chula Vista Elementary
School District were clouded
by her passivity during the rampages of
Asst. Supt for Human Resources Richard
Werlin, but I admired her for enduring the
wrath of many teachers when she stopped
the practice of suspending children for
every little infraction.
Two school officials on to new jobs
BY GAIL WESSON
July 5, 2014
...Marianna Vinson, whose single mother used to sell plaster statues on Winchester Road
to support her children, will join the federal Department of Education as deputy director
for the Office of English Language Acquisition, a political appointment in the Obama
administration. She has been San Jacinto’s assistant superintendent of educational
services since 2012...
Vinson, 38, an educator for more than 15 years, was planning to leave, but not
for D.C. She was [not] accepted into the Harvard University doctorate program
this fall, but during the application process, she reconnected with former co-
worker Libia Gil, who was with Chula Vista Elementary School District when
Vinson started teaching bilingual kindergarten years ago. Gill [sic] will be her
Vinson said she applied to the Harvard program because she didn’t want to go to her
deathbed wondering “what if.” She will reapply for admission in 2016. Her husband
and two young children will join her back East.
Her new office is considered the “warehouse and information for the best English-learner
services,” she said. The office administers grants for higher education training and Native
One of the accomplishments she is most proud of is the almost two dozen banners posted
in May on San Jacinto city streetlights heralding college aspirations of San Jacinto High
She also is proud of how the entire district has taken to heart the focus on student writing,
with a catch phrase of “our pens are on fire.” Even the custodians ask the children what
they are writing about.
After high school in Chula Vista, Vinson was awarded a scholarship to Stanford University,
where she earned a bachelor’s in political science. She later earned a master’s in
educational administration from National University.
She taught in Chula Vista, where she was raised, before she was hired by San Jacinto
Unified in 2003. She was assistant principal at elementary schools before she served as
Hyatt principal. She transferred to the district office in 2007 as director of curriculum and