Ekchian becomes the first female and first Armenian to lead the GUSD

GLENDALE, CA — The Board of Education on Tuesday voted 5-0 to select Vivian Ekchian as the new Superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District making her the first female and first Armenian leader of the 106-year-old district.

A 34-year veteran of the Los Angeles Unified School Distrsict, Ekchian is currently the Deputy Superintendent of the LAUSD and until last year served as its interim superintendent.

She has dedicated her career to serving students, educators, and communities in a variety of roles, including teacher assistant, classroom teacher, principal, director of instruction, chief of staff to the superintendent, chief human resources officer, chief labor negotiator, local district superintendent, associate superintendent, and interim superintendent.

Ekchian’s four-year contract begins on July 1.

The GUSD carried out a nationwide search that yielded 21 candidates from nine states. The board ultimately chose a Glendale resident to helm the school district.

“The decision to go to another school district after many years at the Los Angeles Unified School District was an important decision in my life, but I felt I was ready for it,” Ekchian told the Glendale News Press. “I wanted to serve my community, the community I lived in.”

“The commitment I made during my interviews was I just wasn’t coming in as an applicant, I was coming in as a community member who was going to make a difference in our schools,” she added.

“I want to thank the Glendale Unified School District Board of Education for this exciting new opportunity,” said Dr. Ekchian. “It has been such an honor and a privilege to serve the students, families, and employees of Los Angeles Unified. I am thrilled to join the GUSD family, and I look forward to accelerating the transformative work that is occurring throughout the District, while maintaining a
steadfast focus on preparing all students for college, career, and life.”

The GUSD is made up of 32 schools with an enrollment of 26,000 students, 34 percent of which are of Armenian descent.

“The Armenian National Committee of America’s Glendale Chapter (ANCA Glendale) would like to congratulate the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) Board as well as Dr. Vivian Ekchian on her new position as the GUSD Superintendent,” said the ANCA Glendale Board on Wednesday.

“The ANCA Glendale is grateful that the GUSD Board has taken into account our suggestion at an earlier meeting to hire an Armenian to the post, and looks forward to working with Dr. Ekchian and the Board to advance the educational enhancement of our city,” the ANCA Glendale added.

Ekchian has had a long history in working in the Armenian community. She played an integral in the development of Armenian Genocide curriculum in text books in California. In 2018, she received the Armenian Genocide Education Legacy Award from the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region at its annual awards luncheon

“Our absolute first priority was finding the best person for the position and finding somebody that had the wealth of experience, that had the understanding what student achievement really means — that it’s not just a test score, but the whole child — and really deeply understands that,” Glendale school board chair Jennifer Freemon told the Glendale News Press.

Last year, Ekchian was in the running to become the superintendent of the LAUSD, but the board of education voted to hire a businessman, the former Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner, instead of an educator.

In a statement Beutner called Ekchian a “terrific partner with me in our work. The Glendale Unified School District is lucky to have her.