CONTACT:  Tim Walker

 (310) 450-8338, 241



July 16, 2006


School Board to Appoint Dianne Talarico As New Superintendent


The Board of Education of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has selected Dianne Talarico as its next superintendent to replace John Deasy, who resigned to accept a similar position in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  Board President Julia Brownley anticipates an enthusiastic unanimous approval of Ms. Talarico at a special meeting that will be held on Thursday evening, July 20, 2006 at 5:30 p.m. in the Board Room at the District Central Office located at 1651 Sixteenth Street in Santa Monica.   A reception for central office and school-site administrators and union leadership to welcome Ms. Talarico will be held at 4:00p.m. on Thursday as well.  A community-wide reception and celebration for Ms. Talarico will be held within the next few weeks.


Ms. Talarico is currently Superintendent of the Canton City Schools in Canton, Ohio.  Prior to assuming that role five years ago, she held various positions in the San Francisco Unified School District for almost twenty years and was an Associate Superintendent there for three years. Ms. Talarico began her career as a special education teacher in Ohio, was a principal and special education teacher in San Francisco, and was principal of the American Overseas School in Rome, Italy for one year.  While in San Francisco, she also was an adjunct professor at San Francisco State University.


Ms. Talarico received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Bowling Green State University and a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from San Francisco State University.


As Superintendent of the Canton City Schools, Ms. Talarico provided the leadership that resulted in raising academic achievement at every level and the high school graduation rate by 25%.  She was also instrumental in establishing partnerships with local colleges, the business community and education foundations to initiate an Early College High School and a P-16 (Pre-school through College) Compact. 


Ms. Talarico’s administration secured $42 million dollars in competitive grants, oversaw a $178 million reconstruction project and secured voter approval of a $7 million annual tax levy, while curbing expenditures and streamlining district operations.  The Canton City School District has also seen significant advances in the utilization of technology for instruction and improved home-school communications.


Board President Julia Brownley echoed the sentiments of the entire Board in stating “we are really excited about having Dianne join us.  We interviewed a number of candidates and are convinced that her experiences in San Francisco and Canton have prepared her well to address the challenges that face us in Santa Monica-Malibu.”  Other board members were impressed with her knowledge of instruction and learning, her inclusive and collaborative approach, her understanding of cultural issues, her interest in involving parents in their children’s education, and her success in attracting and retaining top-notch professionals to her district.


Ms. Talarico was recruited for the position by the firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, Ltd., an educational management recruitment firm located in suburban Chicago that assisted the Board with its search.  The firm contacted, recruited and/or accepted applications from over sixty candidates for the position and narrowed the group to five who possessed the skills that most closely represented what the District’s stakeholders (parents, staff, students and community leaders) and Board indicated the District needed at this time.  The Board proceeded to interview the candidates presented to them on two occasions, conducted site visits and reference checks on the two most promising candidates and conducted an extensive background check before offering the superintendent position to Ms. Talarico.


Ms. Talarico is married to Enrique Navas-Vásquez, who is a specialist in school business services.  It is anticipated that Ms. Talarico will assume her responsibilities as Superintendent in Santa Monica-Malibu around August 15th.






1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404 – ph: 310-450-8338, fax: 310-581-1138