Jill Baker, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
Long Beach Unified School District
Dr. Jill Baker was unanimously selected by the Board of Education as superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District effective August 1, 2020. The school district is California’s fourth largest, with about 65,500 students.
With 30 years of experience in LBUSD, Dr. Baker worked for 28 of those years as a successful teacher, principal and central office administrator before her appointment as superintendent. Her leadership contributed to increased student achievement, the development of multiple districtwide initiatives and systems, and a culture of continuous improvement.
Dr. Baker’s appointment as superintendent occurred during the difficult first months of the global COVID-19 pandemic, but LBUSD would go on to become the first large school district in California to reopen campuses for in-person learning. As part of LBUSD’s pandemic recovery effort, Dr. Baker led the development of the District’s first Learning Acceleration and Support Plan, blending together various resources – including significant pandemic recovery funding from the state and federal governments – to provide the best possible learning opportunities. In support of this work, LBUSD’s Board of Education adopted an Excellence and Equity Policy, the District implemented a Black Student Achievement Initiative, and Dr. Baker guided the restructuring of Board of Education meetings to allow a greater focus on student outcomes. She also created the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Committee, resulting in student voice being elevated into many settings traditionally occupied by adults.
Dr. Baker has been recognized by several community-based organizations for her encouraging leadership and her advocacy for high expectations and support for students in need. She has worked closely with community groups such as Californians for Justice and the California Conference for Equality and Justice to include student voices in the development of programs and policies that focus on excellence, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Baker served as deputy superintendent of schools for six years prior to becoming superintendent. During that time, she provided leadership, supervision and support to multiple departments in LBUSD, ensuring that students graduate ready for college and careers. Her departmental oversight included early learning, leadership development, curriculum and instruction, and school supervision and support. She led the implementation of the principal supervisor learning community, a multi-year effort that focused on educational excellence and equity by improving coaching and support for principals. Her work with new and aspiring administrators was recognized nationally and was credited with building a high-quality leadership pipeline that would benefit local schools for many years to come. She helped to author several nationally published, scholarly articles on LBUSD’s work, particularly on the topic of leadership development.
Dr. Baker also helped to develop evaluation systems for classified and certificated personnel. She co-chaired the English Language Learner/Social-Emotional Education Task Force on closing achievement gaps, and she served on the bargaining team for union negotiations. A teacher at heart, Dr. Baker spends much of her time in local schools, maintaining an “in-the-field” perspective and interacting with teachers and administrators.
Prior to her work as deputy superintendent, Dr. Baker held various assistant superintendent positions and was chief academic officer while LBUSD saw several critical milestones: an increase in the school district’s elementary promotion standards; the implementation of a collaborative K-12 walk-through process for school visitations; refinement of standards-based report cards; launching Transitional Kindergarten; co-leadership of the principal evaluation system development team and other efforts to cultivate a leadership pipeline.
Dr. Baker enjoys multiple connections with local organizations, foundations and universities, all of which continue to support efforts in the school district. She also serves on the Board of the Long Beach Schools Financial Credit Union, a financial institution that was started by LBUSD teachers in 1935, and she is a member of the Los Angeles County Superintendents Advisory Committee.
Starting as an exemplary teacher at Burnett Elementary School (now Smith Elementary) in 1992, Dr. Baker then worked as a successful principal at Garfield Elementary School from 1998 to 2005 before serving as a central office administrator in LBUSD for 14 years.
In 2005, Dr. Baker completed her tenure as a fellow in the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Southern California in 2004, master’s degree in school administration at California State University, Long Beach in 1998, and her bachelor’s degree in sociology at University of California, Irvine in 1991.
Dr. Baker was born at Beale Air Force Base in Marysville, Calif. Her parents had earlier met in Japan while both working on a U.S. Air Force base there. Her mother was teaching for the Department of Defense, and her father was an officer in the Air Force. Her parents settled in Santa Cruz, Calif., where Baker was raised until she left for college.
She is the proud mother of an LBUSD graduate, and she married an LBUSD graduate, Trevor Baker.
Dr. Baker has earned numerous awards and accolades, including the Education Champion Award from the Mayor’s Fund and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and the Secondary Education Award from the Long Beach Branch NAACP, which also recognized her with an Outstanding Women Award. The Teachers Association of Long Beach presented her with a Golden Apple Award for Administrators, and Soroptimists International named her a Woman of Distinction.
Updated October 24, 2022