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forward-thinking, FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE leadership 

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 Check out Gary's Plan for education!

     San Mateo County: TOGETHER 

As San Mateo County Superintendent, Gary's priorities will be

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Dr. Gary Waddell currently serves as Deputy County Superintendent of the San Mateo County Office of Education. He holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors that highlight his vision for our schools and ability to get things done including being recently awarded the CA County Superintendents' Association 2017 STAR Award.

Gary is running for County Superintendent of Schools because of his innate belief in our children and youth - and in our capacity as schools and communities to make a positive difference in their lives.

He comes to the Superintendency with over 20 years of experience on the ground as an innovative Principal, School Counselor, and Teacher in addition to 11 years of experience leading Instructional Services at the San Mateo County Office of Education. He has led at every level - elementary school, middle school, high school, and has taught in graduate-level educational leadership programs at the university level. He is a former statewide Counselor of the Year and is a recipient of multiple leadership and human rights awards presented for his innovative approach and his commitment to diversity and inclusion.  

Gary has served as a therapeutic foster parent for adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities.  His experiences as a School Counselor and Foster Parent ignited his passion for equity and his belief in the innate capacity of our children and youth.  His commitment to equity has driven his work as a Principal who closed achievement gaps.  His work as Deputy Superintendent (and previously Associate Superintendent) at the San Mateo County Office of Education has largely been around connecting equity and innovation and t has resulted in the opening of the countywide STEM Center, expansion of quality preschool initiatives, launch of the Center for Learning Analytics, and creating a variety of countywide efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps, such as Zap the Gap and the Achievement Gap Policy Summits.

Gary is a statewide leader in curriculum and instruction in California.  He is a Past Chair of California's statewide Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee where he worked closely with the Department of Education, the State Board of Education, and County Offices of Education throughout California to enact education policy.  He currently Chairs the statewide Visual and Performing Arts Committee for California and is a past-Chair of the statewide Mathematics Committee.

Gary is a veteran leader with a vast track record of innovative leadership in multiple schools and settings.  He is ready to get to work day one for our kids. 





  • Expand access to quality preschool countywide​
  • Work collaboratively to address shortage of childcare facilities
  • Expand and enhance The Big Lift 
  • ​Support preschool teachers in professional learning and growth
  • ​Build partnerships to ensure high quality early learning opportunities from preK - 3
  • Strengthen countywide programs in parent engagement and education
  • ​Support equitable preschool programs that honor children's cultures and ethnicities

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A world-class 







    “Gary has a track record of building collaborative solutions that matter for our students and schools and is the kind of leader that we need in California.”

    • Lead with equity 
    • Convene annual summit to report to the community on achievement and highlight bright spots across the county
    • Support personalized learning and innovation & partnerships with the tech sector
    • Build a diverse, highly skilled workforce
    • ​Support programs and services for second-language learners and immigrants
    • Build systems of support for homeless and foster youth
    • ​Support cutting edge STEM education, including supporting girls in STEM education/careers
    • Invest in countywide arts programs to support schools in offering visual and performing arts, preK-12
    • Expand the countywide environmental education/ sustainability initiative 
    • Promote civics education to support student learning about our democracy and build good citizenship
    • ​Support social-emotional learning for all youth to develop the social and personal skills that they need to succeed in life
    • ​Build community partnerships to offer internships  and collaborate 

    • Model shared leadership and collaboration
    • Build strong community-based partnerships 
    • Lead by example and provide responsible fiscal oversight of local district budgets 
    • ​Advocate at the state level for new resources for California's schools
    • Provide programs and services that respond to local district needs
    • Provide state of the art teacher and administrator training and credentialing
    • ​Work with community partners to develop sustainable funding to support families' preschool needs

    Meet Gary...


            Tom Torlakson, California    

            Superintendent of Public