Prior to joining the 26,000-student Irvine Unified School District in Orange County, California, Gwen E. Gross served as superintendent in Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Beverly Hills Unified, Ojai Unified, and at the then one-school Hermosa Beach City School District. In addition to her 17 years as a superintendent, she has been an elementary and middle grades teacher, principal, director of operations, and faculty member at universities in the Midwest and on the West Coast. She was named as one of the "Top 100 Educators in North America" and was honored as the "2005 Superintendent of the Year" by Pepperdine University, where she has served as an adjunct professor of education leadership for 10 years. Gross is active in many community and professional organizations, holding leadership positions in many of them, particularly with the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), where she has chaired the New Superintendents' Annual Symposium, the 2007 superintendent symposium, served as the vice chair of the State Superintendents' Committee, and has been named a Tri-County Superintendent of the Year. Together with several other superintendents, Gross coauthored Eight at the Top: A View Inside Public Education and Effective Superintendent-School Board Practices . She was a bimonthly columnist for the Beach Reporter newspaper serving Los Angeles County's South Bay area and she has developed a series of creative communication documents for distribution to the many constituencies served by public schools. Gross is received her BA from University of Wisconsin, MA from University of Akron, and PhD from Kent State University, and a postdoctoral certificate from Harvard University.
Patricia B. Novotney is an associate professor at the University of La Verne in the department of organizational leadership. In addition, she serves as chair of the professional administrative services credential program. She is also a consultant with school districts in the areas of governance team training, leadership development, strategic planning, and organizational development. Previously, she spent 36 years in public school district service. The majority of her work was in school administration, where she was a principal in three Southern California school districts and superintendent in two California school districts, serving for 13 years. Novotney has also been an adjunct professor, teaching master's- and doctoral-level classes at Pepperdine University, the University of Southern California, Chapman University, and the California State University campuses at Fullerton, Long Beach, and San Bernardino. During her time as district superintendent, Novotney served as president of the Rotary Club and held offices in several other service clubs. She was also active in the Temecula, California, Chamber of Commerce. One of her community passions was her role as president of a nonprofit organization designed to work on the elimination of child abuse. During her time as superintendent, she received awards from the Rotary, Kiwanis, and Soroptimist clubs; the Temecula Chamber of Commerce and Police Department; and the California State Parent Teacher Association. Novotney received her BS degree from Bloomsburg State University, where in 1994, she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Service Award. She received her MS degree in educational administration from Chapman University and her doctoral degree in institutional management from Pepperdine University.
Gloria L. Johnston has devoted over 40 years to a career in education. She currently coaches, mentors, and provides professional development for principals, central office administrators, superintendents, and school boards. The focus of her work is on systemic strategies that lead to improving student achievement and closing the achievement gap. Her years of service in PreK-12 education included serving as a teacher, principal, central office administrator, and 12 years as a superintendent of schools. She worked in urban, suburban, and rural school districts in Illinois, California, and Caracas, Venezuela. Most recently, she served as dean of the School of Education at National University, headquartered in San Diego, California.Throughout her career, Johnston has been an invited speaker at state and national professional conferences, served on state and national educational and research committees, and has been awarded major professional development grants. She is coauthor of two books, Eight at the Top: A View Inside Public Education , a collection of stories about the work of school district superintendents, and Effective Superintendent-School Board Practices: Strategies for Developing and Maintaining Good Relationships With Your Board , a practical, experience-based look at the most important role the superintendent has in leading a school district.Johnston earned her PhD in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her MS in bilingual/bicultural education and BS in humanities (magna cum laude) from Northern Illinois University.