OC Register: "Santa Ana schools chief ends tenure"

After five years on the job, Jane Russo is retiring as superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District with a record of gains in academic performance (the Academic Performance Index grew from 657 to 723) and graduation rates (from 79.9% to 84.6%), as well as overseeing dozens of campus renovation projects. But Russo also cut $150 million in jobs, programs and services. Her replacement has not been named. - HTN Foundation


Published: July 3, 2011 Updated: July 6, 2011 11:56 a.m.

Retiring Santa Ana Superintendent Jane Russo receives an award from state Senator Lou Correa. SANTA ANA UNIFIED, COURTESY PHOTOSANTA ANA – Jane Russo took over as superintendent of Santa Ana Unified in 2006 with the goal of improving academic achievement in the county's largest and poorest performing district, one often plagued by financial uncertainty and political turmoil.

As Russo retires five years later from the 55,500-student district, test scores have improved significantly, while the tumultuous climate has virtually disappeared. While some challenges still exists, trustees, parents and supporters credit Russo's strong leadership and relentless work with the community to secure resources for the district's low-income population for creating a more supportive environment for learning.

Since Russo began as superintendent in 2006, Santa Ana Unified's overall Academic Performance Index grew from 657 to 723, graduation rates increased from 79.7 percent to 84.6 percent, and dozens of campuses completed extensive renovation projects.