Newark Unified school board set to appoint new superintendent on Thursday

Penelope DeLeon

NEWARK, Calif. — The Newark Unified School District has a new superintendent, pending an official vote from the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Thursday.

Penelope DeLeon, formerly the superintendent of Glendora Unified School District and Oxnard Union High School District, is set to replace interim Superintendent Michael Milliken on May 15, according to DeLeon’s proposed three-year contract. DeLeon is set to receive an annual base salary of $270,000.

“I am incredibly honored to be selected as the Superintendent of the Newark Unified School District, and I look forward to serving this wonderful Board of Education and community as we work together ensure powerful futures for our students,” DeLeon said in a prepared statement shared in a Monday social media post.

DeLeon has been working in public schools for just under three decades and was most recently superintendent of the Glendora Unified School District, where she navigated the district through the COVID-19 pandemic. She earned her doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne, was named Assembly District 48’s woman of the year for education last year and currently serves on the board of the nonprofit Shoes that Fit, which provides about 150,000 students across the country with new athletic shoes every year.

“The Board is thrilled to have Dr. DeLeon serve as our superintendent. She is a relational and collaborative leader who believes in motivating people around goals and celebrating progress,” Board President Nancy Thomas said in a prepared statement. “She cares about meeting the individual needs of all students, and I am confident that she will help our district continually improve.”

Earlier this year, DeLeon was appointed on a 3-2 vote to be superintendent of the Ojai Unified School District, but the school board president told the Ventura County Star that DeLeon “had determined it would be ‘virtually impossible to overcome the significant challenges of the district’ without the backing of a unanimous vote.”

DeLeon will be taking over the role from interim Superintendent Michael Milliken, who was appointed earlier this year by the school board after it approved a separation agreement with former Superintendent Mark Triplett on a split vote.

The Newark Unified School District Board of Education is set to meet at 6 p.m. in the district boardroom at 5715 Musick Avenue in Newark. You can also watch the meeting on YouTube or Comcast Channel 26. Public comments can be submitted in person or by emailing

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