Superintendent of Schools Candidate Todd Barlow
Superintendent of Schools Candidate Todd Barlow

As a service to our readers, we’ve asked various candidates for a variety of county-wide offices to respond to a set of what we believe are relevant questions. We believe it is the public’s right to know the backgrounds and thoughts of those who intend to serve the citizens of Kings County and Lemoore.

Can you give me your full name and age and marital status, children?

My name is Todd Barlow.  I am 48 years old.  My wife of 22 years is Amy Gomez Barlow.  We have a daughter, Lauren, who currently attends UC Davis.

Where are you from originally? Schools attended, including high school, college, post-graduate, etc. Educational certificates?

Like many locals in the Hanford/Armona/Lemoore area, I was born at Hanford Community Hospital.  My father was a farmer on the west side, but we moved to Lemoore before I was in Kindergarten.  I attended Lemoore area schools, graduating from LHS in 1988.  I attended West Hills College, then Arizona State University, earning my bachelor’s degree in History.  When Amy and I moved to back to California, I attended Fresno Pacific to earn a teaching credential, and later my administrative credential and master’s degree in administrative services.

Your career, including your jobs in education? How long were you in the classroom and where? Your administrative jobs, other certifications?

I taught middle school (6th-8th) History and English/Language Arts for eleven years at Kit Carson School.  During that time, Charlotte Meade, our assistant principal, and John Sousa, our superintendent/principal, both mentors of mine, suggested I pursue an administrative credential.  When Mrs. Meade retired, I applied for the opening for director of student services and earned the position.  Two years later, Mr. Sousa announced his retirement.  With a great deal of support from our governing board, our staff and our community, I submitted my intention to earn the honor of serving as superintendent/principal.  That did happen, roughly seven years ago.  To work somewhere for thirteen years and receive that kind of support was humbling. 

Why are you running for the Kings County Superintendent of Education?

The kindergarten students of today will be the graduating class of 2030!  A “students first” perspective at every level is the most essential thing in making sure our schools continue to be the best they can be.  I’m running for Superintendent of Kings County Schools because I want the best education for our children and I understand that the county office plays a major role in making sure that happens.  As the Kings County Superintendent of Schools, I will bring my vision about facilitating student learning at all levels to the Kings County Office of Education.

Achievements? Awards or honors?

In the years since becoming an administrator, I have continued my own professional learning.   This has included academies for School Business, Charter School Authorization, Special Education, and Local Control Accountability.  I have also served as the county coordinator of the Small School Districts Association for several years.   I have served on numerous committees and councils at the county level, most notably as governance chair for Special Education programs. 

The most important ideas, concerns, innovations in education facing schools today?

There is one overall goal in education: facilitating student learning.   Learning happens when we have safe schools, promote citizenship and expand opportunities for our students. 

Some of our most important concerns revolve around school safety.  In a county where many school sites are several decades old, that can mean the need for building upgrades.  It also means continuing to partner with law enforcement to train school staff and maintain/expand their presence at school sites.   Schools will continue to implement anti-bullying programs and promote effective character education that promotes respect and responsibility- including the responsible use of technology and social media.  Being a successful student starts with being a good citizen.

Another concern is the increased need for mental health services for our students.  Local administrators are reporting an increased need at school sites across the county.   This need might be met with additional training for existing staff or using the states flexible funding model and working together to ensure those services are available to our students who need them.

Our students are diverse, and they have diverse needs.  Expanding opportunities can mean many different things, and although there have been incredible innovations in technology and curriculum delivery, the most important thing is the focus on great teaching, and the idea that allowing students to think and solve problems creatively is where true learning happens.  It’s an exciting time to be a teacher.  Whether the goal is a college education or a career (or both), providing students with real opportunities in curricular areas like Math, Science, Performing Arts, and Agriculture, is the best form of education. 

What would you do to improve the ability of the Kings County Office of Education to help local schools?

I am committed to supporting the great people in our county office and districts who are dedicated to their communities and the students that they serve.  The staff at Kings County Office of Education will continue to improve, providing fiscal and academic oversight to districts, supporting schools with accountability requirements, directly serving our most needy students, facilitating access to programs and resources for our families, and offering high quality training and support for our own staff and the staff of our thirteen districts.

Final thoughts? Is there anything you want to say that hasn’t been asked?

Superintendent/Principals may be uniquely qualified for the position of superintendent of schools.  For seven years, I have managed a school site, provided oversight to charter schools, and led a district-level business.  I am invested in the success of Kings County and the families and students we serve.