Saddleback Valley Unified School District names a new superintendent

The Saddleback Valley Unified School District has selected a respected educational leader from the Tustin district to be its next superintendent — and she’s no stranger locally.

Following an extensive search, the SVUSD Board of Education approved the hiring of Dr. Crystal Turner, whose career started in Saddleback Valley schools, at its April 6 meeting.

“Dr. Turner is an innovator and a collaborator who recognizes the importance of technology in education and has a proven track record of success engaging teachers and students,” SVUSD Board President Dolores Winchell said. “She is a trailblazer who thinks outside the box and doesn’t stop until she achieves success.”

Turner currently serves as assistant superintendent of administrative services for the Tustin Unified School District and will take the reins in Saddleback Valley on April 20. She succeeds Dr. Clint Harwick, who headed to the Huntington Beach Union High School District about four months ago.

“It is my honor to return home to SVUSD, and I’m excited to create and renew my relationships with students and their families, staff and the community,” Turner said. “I am humbled by the board’s selection and look forward to working with the SVUSD team again.”

In Tustin, Turner helped open Heritage School, the district’s first science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) magnet elementary school. She also created and supported the district’s competitive robotics program, facilitated the Measure S technology bond citizens’ oversight committee, directed the implementation of next-generation classrooms as part of the TUSD Connect Initiative and coordinated special events, including the annual State of the Schools Breakfast.

Before joining TUSD, Turner served as director of educational services in the Fullerton School District. But her career was launched in Saddleback Valley, where she was a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

“Dr. Turner has made outstanding contributions to the Tustin Unified community and has been a great colleague,” TUSD Superintendent Dr. Gregory Franklin said. “I know she will be equally successful in Saddleback Valley.”

Turner is a resident of Trabuco Canyon, where she lives with her husband and their two children. Along with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in teaching from UCI, she has a doctorate in K-12 leadership from USC, according to The Orange County Register, which has a story here.

Saddleback Valley plans to host a meet-and-greet to introduce Turner to students, parents, staff and the community from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on May 17.