By Maritza Velazquez, Staff Writer San Gabriel Valley Tribune
7/16/2010 -- LA PUENTE - A Los Angeles Unified superintendent was recently selected as Bassett Unified's top administrator.
The Board of Education voted 5-0 to approve Martin Galindo's contract during a special meeting Wednesday.
It includes a $180,000 annual salary and $500 automobile stipend.
"His track record in L.A. Unified was very successful and we're hoping he's able to translate that to a smaller district and bring that here," said board member Victoria Medina. "All of us agreed that he would be a good match."
The 52-year-old Galindo, of Alhambra, is currently one of eight superintendents in Los Angeles Unified, which is separated into "local" districts. They all report to the L.A. Unified's main superintendent.
He said the large school district sometimes made it difficult for him to meet the specific needs of the communities he served.
"There's no doubt for me sometimes that we were very aligned in our thinking and sometimes we weren't and it forced me sometimes to put things on hold that were necessary to have what I thought a quality public education in my area and move forward," he said.
Galindo is downsizing from serving a community of over 61,000 students, to one of a little over 11,500, allowing him to better focus on the personalized needs of the community, Galindo said.
Bassett Unified's current superintendent Jim Ballard is retiring after he said he could not deal with board dynamics that prevented him from fulfilling his goals for the district.
Ballard, who also served as chief business officer, will retire as of July 30. Galindo will begin July 26.
Board members hope Galindo will bring a fresh start to the district and make for better board, district and community relationships. A recall effort is currently underway for two Bassett Unified board members.
"We haven't had a visionary I think for a while and he says he's a visionary and will be getting us all together to work towards that same vision that he has of being a school district that we will be proud of," Medina said.
Galindo said district relations will improve by having a "mutual respect."
"People have a story," he said. "When people have a concern, they're bringing it to you because it's important to them. That forms the basis for all the work we're going to do in the future."
His career in education began as a teacher at Fourth Street Elementary School in East Los Angeles in 1981.
Since then the father of four has served as an assistant principal, principal and school district director before he was selected as superintendent in L.A. Unified four years ago.
Galindo has a master's degree in teacher education from USC, and a master's degree in educational administration from Cal State Los Angeles.
"I'm very excited and enthusiastic and I believe in authentic leadership, which means behaving and acting and being yourself and encouraging others to do the same in a constructive way," he said.