Visalia Unified Superintendent resigns after 32 years with school district

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Todd Oto e-mailed all Visalia Unified School District staff members, confirming his resignation as superintendent at a special board meeting on Tuesday night.

Oto, who has worked for the district for 32 years and was previously a teacher and principal, said it was an honor to serve as superintendent for three years.

"Although I am sad to be leaving the district that I have called home for my entire career, I know that I will leave behind an organization ready for future challenges and able to meet the needs of the children of Visalia," Oto wrote.

"When we asked him to come in as superintendent, I felt very strongly that he was going to be real positive for Visalia Unified, and he has proven to be," said VUSD Board President John Crabtree.

Crabtree says the decision to part ways was a mutual one between Dr. Oto and the district.

Behind closed doors, the majority of the board, including Crabtree, voted to accept Oto's resignation.

Two board members, Joy Naylor and Lucia Vazquez, voted against it.

Crabtree says Oto will be compensated for the one year remaining on his contract and will continue to serve as an adviser at the district through early June.

The board will name Dr. Tamara Ravalin, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Development, acting superintendent at an upcoming meeting.

"She's got a great background in her bio," Crabtree said. "She has worked for College of the Sequoias, she's got degrees in curriculum, technology, and mathematics, so it's a great get for us."

Crabtree couldn't talk about the specifics of Oto's resignation.

But he believes the district has room for improvement with student behaviors and state testing.

In his most recent superintendent's message, Dr. Oto addressed the testing.

"Recently, we have been criticized for low test scores," Oto wrote. "This criticism is valid, for although our overall scores place us ahead of the County and behind the State (as has been true for many years) other school districts around us have shown growth where our overall trajectory has been flat."
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