First published in the Oct. 8 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The Burbank Unified School District’s search for a new assistant superintendent of administrative services is over as the Board of Education approved the hiring of Andrew Cantwell on Thursday.
Superintendent Matt Hill was happy to introduce Cantwell after the board voted 4-0 (board member Steve Ferguson was absent from the meeting) to approve his contract, which includes an annual base salary of $176,883.
Cantwell succeeds longtime beloved employee Debbie Kukta, who announced her resignation from the role during a school board meeting Aug. 18, saying she wanted to spend more time with her family.
After watching a freshman football game at Burbank High School and attending a concert at John Burroughs High, Cantwell said he looked forward to joining a community that seems close-knit.
“The thing that I kept thinking [Thursday] afternoon was just this impression that this really is kind of the biggest little district perhaps in L.A. County,” he told the board. “The staff relationships, the bond in the community, it just seems like a great place to be.”
Cantwell previously served as an assistant superintendent of business and administrative services at the Ojai Unified School District in Ventura County and went on to serve as superintendent. He received his bachelor’s degree from UCLA, masters from Washington University in St. Louis and school management certification from USC. Cantwell began his administrative career in the Santa Barbara County Education office working in finance and human resources.
“It’s a real joy and honor to be joining this team,” he said.
DISTRICT HIRES DEI CONSULTANT
The Board of Education approved another big hire Thursday, bringing Florence Culpepper onboard as a consultant to help Burbank Unified further its diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI, initiative.
“This is critical work that we are very excited about,” said Hill, who spearheaded the district’s DEI efforts in 2019 along with the board, community members and BUSD staff, teachers and administrators.
Culpepper’s role is to provide guidance, support, resources, coaching and supplemental services aligned with the district’s DEI goals. She is also expected to deepen the capacity of site leaders to implement a DEI action plan and cultivate a sustainable DEI lens.
Hill said the consultant has already mapped out a phased plan to help administrators and teachers create affinity groups to talk about the work and goals for each site. Culpepper, an experienced educator and former principal, will also facilitate the meetings between all site principals that are primarily focused on DEI work.
“This is allowing us to go much deeper in the work that we’ve started over the last couple of years,” Hill said.
Culpepper’s contract began Friday and runs through May 31, and will cost the district $25,000, which was funded out of the Local Control and Accountability Plan Supplemental Grant.