The Long Beach Unified board announced Thursday the selection of the first female superintendent in the school district's 135-year history.
Jill Baker — who has worked for the school district for nearly 28 years — will assume her new role on Aug. 1.
She will replace Christopher J. Steinhauser, who is retiring July 31 after 18 years as superintendent.
Baker, 50, of Long Beach, is currently the district's deputy superintendent of schools. She has also worked as a central office administrator for the district, along with serving as a principal at Garfield Elementary School and started her career as a teacher at Burnett Elementary, which is now known as Smith Elementary.
“I am deeply honored to be selected as superintendent of such a high quality organization,” Baker said in a statement. “Thank you to the Board of Education and to everyone in our communities who provided their input during the superintendent selection process. We’re facing unprecedented challenges because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but I so appreciate everyone who continues to support our students and their families.
Baker was chosen after a statewide search that included several community forums, advisory committee meetings, multiple interviews of candidates and electronic surveying of constituents to determine what qualities they would like to see in their new superintendent, according to the district.
The school board's president, Felton Williams, said in a statement that Baker is "a key reason why our school system is considered nationally, and even internationally, to be a high-functioning organization."
"She is a thoughtful, strategic planner who has served our schools extremely well," Williams added.
Baker has received numerous awards, 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.