Superintendent, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District
Dr. Donald Austin is a lifelong educator who has dedicated his entire career to ensuring all students possess the skills and knowledge they need to lead successful lives. He began serving the World Class Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District in 2014. Early in his teaching career, Dr. Austin quickly emerged as a natural leader. At age 30, he was chosen to be the principal of La Sierra High School in Riverside, California, where ten of his former staff members eventually became principals. During his six-year tenure at the 3,000-student school, Advanced Placement course enrollment grew by more than 300 percent. In addition, La Sierra High School’s Academic Performance Index score (California’s former school ranking system) increased by 125 points. As principal of Laguna Beach High School, Dr. Austin and his staff earned National Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished School recognitions. Dr. Austin served as the Assistant Superintendent for the Huntington Beach Union High School District for three years. In his role, Dr. Austin guided work leading to their first distinction as an Advanced Placement District Honor Roll recipient, created a large-scale online course option for students, significantly increased A-G completion rates, and implemented a Parent University model recognized throughout the region for outreach for parents. The first three years in PVPUSD have been eventful, including the adoption of math curriculum and textbooks, creation of online options for students, coordination of a robust professional development plan for certificated and classified employees, website redesigns, California School Boards Association recognition for strategic planning, multiple Gold Ribbon schools, a Golden Bell winner, and top rankings in the state and nation.
Breakout Session 3.2: The Future of Education