Gary Waddell has been called a visionary, proven leader. He currently serves as the Deputy Superintendent, or Second in Command, of the San Mateo County Office of Education.
Gary holds a Doctorate in School Leadership as well as a Master’s Degree in School Counseling, an Educational Specialist Degree in School Administration, and a Bachelor’s degree in Drama.
Gary has been an award-winning School Principal where he led schools in equity work and drastically reduced the achievement gap while simultaneously raising the achievement of high-achieving students. He has been a School Counselor at the primary, elementary, middle, and high school levels. Gary has been an advocate for quality preschool programs throughout his career and currently oversees the preschool initiatives of the San Mateo County Office of Education.
He is a former Chair of California’s prestigious Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee (CISC) where he worked alongside the California Department of Education and State Board of Education as well as with other county offices of education throughout California to implement educational policy in California. Gary currently serves as the Chair of the statewide Visual and Performing Arts Subcommittee.
Gary has published on topics such as professional learning communities and teacher preparation. He is a skilled presenter and facilitator and is a graduate of the Friday Center at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Principals' Executive Program (PEP), where he was honored by his peers with the Jack McCall Award for his leadership.
He is the recipient of an award for his achievements in human rights for innovative programs that highlight diversity and inclusiveness in schools. He was recognized as the statewide Elementary Counselor of the Year and, early in his career, as the statewide Outstanding New Professional. He has received a statewide PTA award for programs that build self-esteem.
Gary has spent his career in service of equity and ensuring that schools make an impact in the lives of all students. He has been at the forefront of a variety of initiatives aimed at closing the achievement and opportunity gaps. During his leadership of the Instructional Services Division at the San Mateo County Office of Education, he led teams that launched a number of innovative initiatives such as the San Mateo County STEM Center, the Center for Learning Analytics, environmental education initiative, among a host of others.
Gary lives coastside in Pacifica. He is originally from North Carolina where his mother was a school and school district secretary, his father a District Fire Chief and Marine, and his grandfather Chief of Police - impressing on Gary from an early age the value of service to one's community. He spent a number of years as a foster parent for adolescents with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities.
Gary is a member of the LGBT community. He is a singer and musician, enjoys traveling - with a particular fondness for Mexico. He enjoys the arts, history, reading and writing. He is a self-professed "techie" at heart and makes a mean pineapple upside-down cake. He loves animals, including his two very chatty Tonkinese cats, Rajah and Bagheera. Among his accomplishments, he is proud to add that he ran his first 5k last year at one of his all-time favorite places, Disneyland.