On July 1, 2017, Eimear O’Farrell, Ed.D., assumed leadership of the District after the June 30 retirement of Janet Young, Ed.D. Though new to her role as Superintendent, Dr. O’Farrell, has a long history with Clovis Unified, and is passionately committed to the core values and philosophies that have defined the District for more than 57 years.
“The Governing Board, along with our community, was united in our desire to find a superintendent with a vision to lead Clovis Unified into the future, an understanding of the unique culture and mutual respect we have for each other in Clovis Unified, and the strength, courage and wisdom to steer the district through the challenges facing public schools in California,” said Governing Board President Sandy Budd in announcing the appointment May 30 at a special meeting. “We have found a leader who meets this description in Eimear.”
A visibly moved O’Farrell addressed the board following celebratory applause from dozens of colleagues, district employees, friends and family who attended the special meeting.
“Thank you for putting your faith in me to continue the legacy of this great district,” O’Farrell said.
“My goal as superintendent is to continue to preserve the culture of high expectations and standards for our employees and students by ensuring that we continue to be guided by our core values and to embrace the voices of all our stakeholders both within our school district and in our greater community,” she said.
“We will continue to echo [founding Superintendent] Dr. Floyd Buchanan’s charge to provide a fair break for every kid. I am truly honored to be given the opportunity to lead us all in that charge.”
O’Farrell has 34 years of experience in the field of education, first in Dublin, Ireland, and then as an elementary teacher for Our Lady of Victory Elementary in Fresno, before joining Clovis Unified in 1996 as a third-grade teacher at Maple Creek Elementary.
“I came to Clovis as a young school teacher from Ireland, and from the moment I set foot in this district, I felt the difference. I realized this is where I would be most fulfilled in my chosen career, and I decided to make it my home,” she said.
O’Farrell has served in Clovis Unified at both the elementary and secondary level, as a teacher, GIS, Learning Director, Elementary Principal and Deputy Principal before assuming the position of Principal at Clovis West High School in 2012. In 2014, she was appointed Area Superintendent of the Clovis West Area.
A firm believer in modeling the habits of a life-long learner, O’Farrell earned her doctoral degree in 2010.
Her announcement as new superintendent followed a month-and-a half long, statewide search by the Governing Board. It included input from multiple community and employee focus groups, the gathering of stakeholder feedback both online and in person, and a multi-step interview process that included a panel of parents, business leaders and employees.
O’Farrell said she is grateful for what she has learned from retiring Superintendent Young and her leadership that “inspired us all to be the best we can be.”
“She has always reminded us, that what takes anything from good to great, is care. That’s the key component. We will continue to care deeply about everything we stand for in Clovis Unified.”
Young will step down at the end of June after nearly 40 years working for the district.