Welcome to Gravenstein Schools!
Linda J. LaMarre
Superintendent, Gravenstein Union School District
Principal, Gravenstein Elementary School
The Board of Trustees of the Gravenstein Union School District is proud to announce the hiring of Jennifer Schwinn as Gravenstein’s new district superintendent and principal of Gravenstein Elementary School. The Board approved a two-year contract for Mrs. Schwinn at its regular meeting on May 11. She will replace current superintendent Linda LaMarre, who is retiring June 30 after 15 years of exemplary service to Gravenstein’s students and schools.
Schwinn has served as superintendent/principal of the Monte Rio Union School District since 2008. She began her career in education 28 years ago as a college student studying abroad, where she spent a semester teaching English as a Second Language to French university science students. She also spent 10 years as an elementary and middle school teacher in Santa Cruz and Sonoma. Schwinn led Monte Rio students to dramatic improvements in test scores; maintained balanced budgets during the recent recession; and has helped lead several Sonoma County school organizations. She holds a BA in French and English Literature and a Multi-subject Teaching Credential from UC Santa Cruz, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from SSU. As a parent, she was also a founder of the highly successful French-American Charter School in Santa Rosa.
“When I was offered the position of superintendent/principal at Gravenstein Union School District, I knew it provided an exciting opportunity to work for a school district that shared my values and expectations regarding high academic achievement and a love of Arts education,” remarked Schwinn. “I also appreciate the agility possible in small school districts, to quickly address changes in education and the needs of students.”
“Mrs. Schwinn was our unanimous choice for superintendent,” noted Gravenstein school board president Jim Horn. “We had 21 applicants, including several from out of state. We interviewed six semifinalists for about two hours each, then conducted a second round of interviews with our three top candidates. In the end, Jennifer stood out as a hard worker with outstanding management skills, a strong belief in high academic achievement combined with music and the creative arts instruction, and an obvious love of students. Her charter school experience is also a plus for our district, because both Gravenstein Elementary School and Hillcrest Middle School are dependent charters.”
“We all know Linda LaMarre will be a tough act to follow,” said Horn. “Fifteen years ago, she took over a school district suffering from years of declining enrollment and marginal finances, and she raised the bar for all of us. Today, Gravenstein has growing enrollment; strong finances; exemplary creative arts and music programs; and the highest test scores in West Sonoma County. Superintendent Schwinn is ready to work with our wonderful teaching staff to build on that success in the future.”
Only two elementary schools in Sonoma County received the California Gold Ribbon Award this year and Gravenstein School was one of them! The award reflects a school’s success in creating a positive learning atmosphere for students. Our success is a direct result of our dedicated, creative, and talented staff, and our supportive school community.