Anaheim Elementary School District names Jesus ‘Jesse’ Chavarria as new superintendent

The Anaheim Elementary School District Board of Education has named Jesus “Jesse” Chavarria as the district’s new superintendent, following a rigorous interview process.

Chavarria’s appointment was confirmed at the board’s Wednesday night meeting, with his tenure as superintendent set to commence on July 1.

AESD Superintendent Jesus Jesse Chavarria headshot

Chavarria’s career in education spans nearly three decades, beginning as a teacher with the South Whittier School District. He joined the elementary-only school district 25 years ago as a sixth-grade teacher and has since held various roles including teacher-on-special assignment, vice principal, principal and transportation director. For the past four years, Chavarria has served as AESD’s assistant superintendent of administrative services.

According to a news release issued by the district, in his recent role, Chavarria played a “pivotal part in guiding the district through challenges posed by the pandemic, ensuring continuity of education and safety for all learners.” His oversight of numerous construction projects has improved AESD school facilities, creating conducive environments for teaching and learning. Additionally, Chavarria’s efforts in establishing the district’s first dual language program in 2006 have promoted inclusive educational opportunities.

“Mr. Chavarria’s deep-rooted experience within AESD and his commitment to our district positioned him as the ideal choice for our next superintendent,” said Ryan Ruelas, school board president. “Mr. Chavarria brings a wealth of expertise to his new role, having demonstrated exceptional leadership across diverse capacities throughout his career with AESD.”

Chavarria holds a master’s degree in education from Whittier College and a bachelor’s degree in business from California State University, Fullerton. His educational expertise and business insight equip him to manage the district’s resources and lead strategic initiatives that prioritize fiscal responsibility and educational experience.

“I am honored to serve as the incoming Superintendent of AESD and I am looking forward to collaborating with the Board of Education and our esteemed district staff to foster a learning environment where every student receives a holistic education, promoting academic achievement and enriching opportunities for personal growth and development,” said Chavarria.

His appointment comes as Superintendent Dr. Christopher Downing prepares to retire on June 30, concluding a 35-year career in education — including six years leading AESD, the largest elementary school district in the state with nearly 15,000 students.

Chavarria hopes to bring extensive experience to his new role, focusing on continued excellence for all students.