Christopher Downing, who currently serves as a local district superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s southern region, has been selected to take the reigns of Anaheim Elementary starting July 1. His appointment was confirmed by the Board of Education with a 5-0 vote on May 9.
“This is a special moment for me and I am thankful to the members of the AESD Board for their confidence,” said Downing. “While I will miss my LAUSD families and colleagues, I am excited for the work ahead and look forward to serving the Anaheim community.”
District officials say Downing’s selection followed an extensive recruitment process that drew 44 applicants, including several sitting school chiefs. The search was prompted by the departure of Linda Kimble, who in December announced that she would become superintendent of the Vista Unified School District in San Diego County.
“This is an exciting day for our district,” AESD Board President Jackie Filbeck said in a news release. “While the candidate pool was extremely impressive, Mr. Downing’s experience is the match we were looking for. The Board’s recent visit to LAUSD only confirmed our belief that he is the right person to lead Anaheim Elementary School District.”
Downing began his career with Los Angeles Unified in 1989 as a classroom teacher. He’s since served at various site and in a number of district-level leadership roles, including principal, instructional director, administrator of parent and community services and coordinator of specially funded programs.
“Mr. Downing has served our district, our students and families for nearly 30 years as a consummate educator and an inspirational leader,” Los Angeles Unified School District Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian said. “As the superintendent of ‘Super South,’ he has focused on early literacy, personalized instruction and parent and community engagement programs that have become models for success. He also has established high-quality learning opportunities to ensure that our graduates are prepared for college and 21st-century careers.”
Downing, who was recently named 2018 Superintendent of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators’ Region XIV, earned his bachelor’s degree from UCLA and his master’s degree in educational leadership from Pepperdine University. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership at USC.
The Anaheim Elementary School District serves approximately 18,000 students at 24 schools and employs more than 2,000 people.