Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified lands a new superintendent

The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District has announced its next superintendent.

Dr. Jim Elsasser, who’s been superintendent of the Claremont Unified School District for nearly a decade after serving in Anaheim and Los Alamitos, is expected to take over as PYLUSD’s new chief on Jan. 4, pending approval by the Board of Education.

He will succeed Dr. Greg Plutko, who last month announced his plans to retire in December.

Dr. Jim Elsasser
Dr. Jim Elsasser has been selected as the next superintendent of the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District.

Placentia-Yorba Linda school board President Eric Padget said Elsasser’s “unrivaled track record and stellar communication skills” made him the right candidate.

“His ability to listen first, assess problems proactively, remain flexible and engage in strategic decision-making are trademarks that will serve our students, employees and the greater community quite well,” Padget said in a statement. “Finding a highly experienced superintendent with such deep roots in education and strong ties to north Orange County will keep the PYLUSD Advantage at the forefront of our work.“

Elsasser’s career in education spans three decades, including the past nine years in Claremont. As superintendent, he’s credited with pursuing strategic initiatives, community partnerships and professional development opportunities that elevated student learning and raised his district’s profile.

Before that, he was assistant superintendent of human resources in the Anaheim Elementary School District, and he spent the previous eight years as a middle school principal and director of classified staff in Los Alamitos Unified.

Elsasser launched his career in Downey, teaching beginning and advanced band and vocal music to middle school students.

Plutko will continue serving as Placentia-Yorba Linda’s superintendent through the end of December. District officials said the two leaders will work together to ensure a seamless transition.