ICOE Chief Set to Retire

PAUL NILSON PHOTO John Anderson, county schools superintendent, discusses his pending retirement Wednesday in his office.

John Anderson will step down as Imperial County superintendent of schools in June after heading the organization for 12 years. When Anderson was first elected as superintendent at ICOE, the organization had a budget of about $20 million and 260 employees; it now has a budget of about $90 million and more than 600 employees.

Anne Mallory, deputy superintendent in charge of student services, will head ICOE once Anderson retires. Her appointment was made official by a unanimous vote of the Imperial County Board of Education on Monday.

“I think the board made a wise decision; she will provide wonderful leadership to the educational community in Imperial County,” Anderson said.

Anderson said he did not make a recommendation to the board and that the board had a choice of appointing someone or telling him what it wanted to do to advertise the job.

“At times new blood is needed and other times continuity,” Anderson said. “I thought about retiring before the last election, so it was a question of the right time for me to go — 40 years in education is quite a career,” Anderson said when asked if he retired mid-term to have an incumbent in line before the next election. Mallory was out of town at a conference and not available for comment Wednesday.

Anderson started his career in education as a teacher at Calexico High, and went on to be the assistant principal and principal there as well. He was also the superintendent of both Central Union High School and the Brawley Elementary School District before heading ICOE.


Anderson said after retiring he will be a consultant involved in doing superintendent searches, something he has done at ICOE, for David Long and Associates and may teach a class in educational administration at San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus. He also plans on spending more time with family and traveling.

The walls of Anderson’s office are filled with photos he has taken himself, and in retirement he plans to make more time for photography.


Anderson said many times the public doesn’t understand what the organization Mallory is inheriting is responsible for.

“We are a service agency — we offer a lot of services to kids, to schools and school districts as well as others in Imperial County,” Anderson said.

ICOE serves the severely handicapped, students that have been expelled or referred out of their district, and students in court and community schools.

“We serve the hard to teach in Imperial County,” Anderson said. ICOE also leads the migrant education program, student well-being and family resources, an early childhood education program and the College-going Initiative. ICOE also provides professional development for teachers and coaches schools to improve achievement.

“I’m proud to have been associated with a lot of fine people that have implemented a lot of wonderful programs that have benefited kids, teachers and school districts in Imperial County,” Anderson said.

ICOE also supports and maintains a broadband private network for public agencies in the county and represents kindergarten through 12th grade schools in California to participate in a broadband network throughout California.

Anderson said there is still much left to do for the future of the Office of Education. “We have a lot left to do in terms of improving student academic achievement. I know that will be a focus of the new superintendent. She is wonderful in understanding needs of alternative education students, and she is very experienced in working administratively with the severely handicapped program and will provide wonderful leadership in that way as well,” he said.

Article Reprinted Courtesy of Imperial Valley Press