Assistant superintendent leaves impressive legacy at Woodlake Unified
Glen Billington leaves Woodlake Unified to become superintendent of Yosemite Unified
By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
WOODLAKE – Woodlake’s longtime assistant superintendent took the top job at Yosemite Unified. But in his wake he has left a number of accomplishments that will keep Woodlake Unified thriving for years to come.
“The opportunity came for him and I do know they don’t come often. I supported him and he was an outstanding assistant superintendent,” said current Woodlake superintendent Alfonso Gamino, who took over at the beginning of the school year in 2018. “You wish folks well and you’re excited for them and now we have to make sure our curriculum and performance don’t suffer in the middle of the year.”
Billington was able to take good care of his former district in the end. The former assistant superintendent gave the District an extended notice that allowed them to start looking for his replacement sooner than later. And earlier this month they hired Laura Gonzalez who was with the Tulare County Office of Education as a curriculum specialist.
She will start her new position on Feb. 1.
“It was a seamless transition. We were very fortunate to have a very great pool of candidates,” Gamino said.
One of Billington’s crowning accomplishments in his six year stint at Woodlake Unified was the districtwide LTE wifi project. Billington was the driving force behind the project. He worked with E-Home Integration to help families that fell outside of the normal reach of the Internet signal to attach antenna’s onto students’ homes. He was also able to find savings for the district.
The interesting part of the project is just how Billington came across the towers required to implement the project. Billington discovered a number of 40-foot towers donated to the district from a parking lot renovation at Kaweah Lake 13 years prior. After clearing the structural soundness of the tower with an engineering firm with whom WUSD frequently works, the district was only left with the task of wiring them for networking capabilities and placing them in the ground.
Also in Billington’s time as assistant superintendent, the district saw a complete overhaul of the performing arts building (PAB). The project actually cost about $1 million and not only replaced the seating of the PAB but also reconfigured the entrance from the lobby and brought the stage down to the floor. Having performers stand on the floor instead of a raised stages means the front row won’t just be a foot rest for people in the second row, but rather additional seating for the community. Just under half of the 12,600 square foot facility was renovated with the most of the changing room, storage and classroom space remaining intact.
Before putting in new seating, the district installed new metal framing for the bleacher-style rows that go all the way across the room. This also eliminating the central entrance that bisected the seating. Now everyone entering from the lobby must use the far right or left entrance.
The project was only completed after all the money from $4.8 million bond had been spent with projects still left to do. To complete the project, In 2015, WUSD obtained a low-interest loan through the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) at 2% interest. The loan was also spent on other projects.
“There was a commitment made by the district to complete all of the bond projects and we feel a great responsibility to do that for the community,” Billington said in 2015. “This will provide students with a modern facility for performances.”
Now that Billington has moved on, Woodlake’s latest superintendent realizes he’ll be missed.
“He’s a very nice man and I have nothing but praise for him and his six years here,” Gamino said.