Click here to view Dr. O’Brien’s video announcement Clovis Unified Superintendent Eimear O’Brien to retire June 30, 2023
Eimear O’Brien, Ed.D., announced Jan. 19 her plan to retire at the conclusion of the current school year, drawing to a close her six-year service as Superintendent.
“This decision did not come easily,” said O’Brien, “because serving our employees, our students and the community of this incredible school district has been the greatest privilege of my life. Twenty-six years ago, I found my home away from home in Clovis Unified because of its people and the transformative purpose in which, together, we are engaged on behalf of our students.
My Clovis Unified family and this community will always hold a special place in my heart, but my role as a daughter to my mother in Ireland is calling to me as well, and I recognize that it is time for me to play a larger role in caring for my aging parent.”
According to O’Brien, the timing of her announcement comes when the District is on strong footing to step into the future under a new superintendent, when benchmark assessments are showing students are back on track to recover from learning loss experienced during the worldwide tumult of the COVID pandemic, and as future planning to serve the community’s residential growth with new elementary and secondary schools are well underway.
According to Governing Board President David DeFrank, a search for the District’s next superintendent will begin immediately. “Dr. O’Brien has been an exemplary superintendent whose level-headed leadership has guided our District through unprecedented challenges, including a global pandemic,” said DeFrank. “She is a selfless, graceful and effective administrator who leaves behind a decades-long legacy of putting first the needs of students and our Clovis Unified team.”
The Governing Board will begin discussions about the search, which they anticipate concluding well before the end of Dr. O’Brien’s tenure in June, at a meeting to be scheduled next week. Regular updates on the search process and opportunities to provide input will be provided to the public and more information will be available on the District’s website in the coming week.
Superintendent O’Brien is retiring after 39 years in education, first as a teacher in her home country of Ireland, and then in the Clovis community, where she served at Our Lady of Victory Elementary in Fresno, before joining Clovis Unified as a third grade teacher at Maple Creek Elementary School in 1996. In the ensuing 26 years, O’Brien served at both the elementary and secondary level as a teacher, GIS, learning director, elementary principal at Valley Oak Elementary, deputy principal and principal at Clovis West High School, and Area Superintendent of the Clovis West Area before her appointment as Superintendent in May of 2017. A firm believer in modeling the habits of a life-long learner, Eimear earned her doctoral degree in 2010.
During her tenure, Clovis Unified schools saw repeated success at the state and national level, seeing its schools receive:
3 National Blue Ribbon Awards
13 California Distinguished School Awards
1 Model Continuation School Award
5 National Schools to Watch Awards
28 California Pivotal Practice Awards in 2022
54 Honor Roll School Recognitions
43 Bonner Character Awards
51 Positive Behavior Interventions & Support Awards
41 Statewide Civic Learning Awards
Also during Dr. O’Brien’s tenure, the District overcome initial struggles in 2020 to pass a much-needed $335 million facility bond now being used on necessary construction of new schools and modernizations around the District to keep pace with a growing community; partnered with community leaders serving on the Foundation for Clovis Schools, and past and present leaders of the district to establish a sustainable development program for leaders ensuring the future of the District’s core educational values; and expanded Career Technical Education programs to open more college and career pathways for students after high school.
“The Governing Board will now begin the crucial work of finding a successor to carry on Dr. O’Brien’s commitment to our students and the enduring vision of Doc Buchanan,” said DeFrank.