Mendocino County’s New Superintendent of Schools Thanks Her Predecessor for His Help and Expertise

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Thank You, Damon Dickinson

When the former county superintendent of schools left his post before the end of his term last spring to attend to health and family issues, Mendocino County was left without top-level leadership in education. To fill the gap, the County Board of Education called on Damon Dickinson, a retired administrator with a lifetime of experience in education.

Damon has a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Management from the University of Oregon and had worked in education since 1973. He began as a school psychologist and counselor before moving into administration. He had extensive knowledge of education in Mendocino County and 35 years of administrative experience, having served as the principal of Anderson Valley Elementary School, the assistant superintendent of educational services for Ukiah Unified School District, and the deputy superintendent for the Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE), among other roles.

When the Board called him, he was enjoying retirement—spending time with his wife, Candy, taking on the occasional consulting work, and finding excuses to spoil his grandchildren. For him to agree to come back to a demanding administrative position was a true act of public service, especially because the financial reward was almost non-existent. Once you retire under the county system, you cannot earn more than a certain sum in a given year or you put your retirement at risk. Still, Damon did not hesitate to step up and help out.

For six months, he has provided leadership and stability. He has used his experience and his extensive network of relationships in the community to make sure MCOE continued to work productively. He paved the way for his successor to be successful, and being that successor, I am incredibly grateful. Since being elected, I’ve been working side-by-side with Damon, learning from him as I explore my new role. He is a natural mentor, generous with his time and invested in seeing me succeed.

Not only has he made my transition to this position smooth, he has taken time to learn about my platform—the one the voters chose—and he has helped me begin to put it in motion. For this, I am deeply grateful. Although my term doesn’t officially begin until January, the Board has accepted Damon’s resignation as of October 31 and named me as interim superintendent through the end of the year.

Thank you, Damon—and Candy—for putting the needs of Mendocino County before your own. I will make good use of the lessons you’ve taught me.

Sincerely,
Michelle Hutchins

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