Our Superintendent of Schools

Dear UUSD Community,

Nancy KellyAs I enter my fourth year as your Superintendent of Schools, I've seen first-hand the talent, intellect, and energy so prevalent in the young people of our community.

These smart, exceptional children and young people deserve every opportunity to succeed, regardless of economic standing or family background. And yet, without a pathway from high school to college and, ultimately, to good-paying jobs, those opportunities will go away.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 29.9 percent of persons 25 or older living in Upland have a bachelor’s degree or better. While that is notably higher than the 18.7 percent average for San Bernardino County as a whole, it still leaves 7 of 10 adults behind the 8-ball when it comes to opportunities for advancement.

That’s a frightening statistic any way you look at it but especially when you consider how much more competitive the world is becoming. As we look to the next generation, creating opportunity through education—and education equity—are an absolute must.

The simple truth is, we’re preparing kids for life—a responsibility all of us need to take more seriously than we ever have.

It’s why, in Upland, we are working hard to forge partnerships in our community—most recently, helping to launch a joint schools-city committee of administrators and city leaders committed to creating a positive, safe environment for all of our kids.

We want our students to dream big and to understand that they can achieve what they might never have thought possible. As educators, our district team understands that rigorous academic curriculum at the K–12 level is critical to making that happen. We need to make sure we are teaching our students how to read well, write well, speak well, and listen. They need the math, technology, and basic workplace skills (filling out an application, showing up on time) to succeed at any job.

Schools can’t do it alone, however. Parents, businesses, and policy makers all play an essential role in promoting education and workforce development.

We also need to make sure this newly trained workforce has jobs to go to, and here, too, the collaboration of education, business, and government is extremely important.

Recently, the Southern California Association of Governments released a series of studies showing that while employment levels are returning to pre-recession levels, that growth is centered in lower-paying fields such as retail and fast food—jobs that were never intended to support a family. This, in turn, has created a wider gap than ever between the haves and have-nots.

To reverse that, we need to make sure we’re working together to educate and train workers that will attract the kind of companies and jobs that can help our region prosper.

The pathway begins right here, right now—with a commitment to equity in education and a willingness to work together to ensure our children and our students have the opportunity to succeed and prosper.

They deserve nothing less.

Nancy Kelly

Dr. Nancy Kelly, Superintendent of Schools