M.A. in Educational Technology Leadership, 2002
School of Education
June 1, 2012
Terrance Walker, Irvine Unified School District Superintendent of Schools, 2012 Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumnus
Exemplifying the University’s Three-Fold Mission
Teaching. Mr. Walker recognized his true passion for being an educator while pursuing his former career as a commercial real estate broker negotiating lease, sale, and investment transactions. His business knowledge and his organizational skills served him well during his days as a career-changer student in the UC Irvine teacher credential program and continue to inform his approach to negotiating improvements and encouraging collaboration. Upon earning his teaching credential in 1997, Mr. Walker was hired by Santiago Hills Elementary School in Irvine, where his people skills and his instructional talent earned him a teaching position in the Alternative Program for Academically Accelerated Students (APAAS). His work with students, parents, and colleagues soon garnered him the honor of Teacher of the Year. Mr. Walker’s understanding of classroom dynamics, his on-the-ground teaching experience, and his commitment to the highest standards of instruction for all students have guided his actions as he advanced into administration within the Irvine Unified School District.
Research. Mr. Walker approached education with an understanding of the importance of research, whether in business activities or selecting appropriate teaching strategies to engage students in the joy of learning. In 1998, he completed his Elementary Teaching Credential coursework at UC Irvine and subsequently earned a master’s degree from Pepperdine University. In 2002 he received his master’s degree in Educational Technology Leadership from UC Irvine in order to be able to make the most informed decisions about the technology tools that he believed would be increasingly important in supporting teachers’ classroom instruction. Program Director Henry Jay Becker (UC Irvine Professor Emeritus) remembers Mr. Walker as a questioning, discerning, and diligent student who sought to obtain the most advanced knowledge available: “He understood how important it would be to make the best decisions in terms of financial investment and appropriate application of emerging technologies.” Mr. Walker’s belief in research-based decision making has been a cornerstone of his educational career and undoubtedly has contributed to his impressive rise to positions of increased importance and authority: Director of Irvine Unified School District Human Resources in 2003; Assistant Superintendent in 2007; and his current position as Superintendent.
Service. Mr. Walker’s approach to teaching, to administration, and to community engagement emerges from his strong service ethic. He believes in “bringing people into the conversation so ideas can be widely disseminated,” and he recognizes the importance of collaboration among public schools, companies, the City of Irvine, and the University of California, Irvine. While a teacher, he set a standard of serving children, parents, and fellow teachers. As an administrator, serving his constituents and key stakeholders became his mantra. As superintendent, he has communicated eight criteria for his district: value momentum, pursue innovation, leverage talent, embrace collaboration, focus on student outcomes, encourage holistic use of resources, support emerging technologies, and move forward. He consistently uses his training and experience to contribute where administration and support can prove helpful. For example, from 2004-2011 he served on the Irvine Unified Selection Committee for district Teachers of the Year, thus ensuring that the honor he previously received would be passed on to other worthy educators. In accepting the position of Superintendent Mr. Walker commented, “I am incredibly grateful to the Board of Education for the opportunity to serve this world-class school system. Most of all, I look forward to engaging in a meaningful dialog with staff members, students, parents and other key stakeholders as we chart our course for the future.”
The following two accolades are representative of the many that Mr. Walker has received.
Terry Walker possesses the broadest of skill sets along with an intellectual curiosity that is unmatched, making him the ideal choice to lead this district in 2011 and beyond. (Sue Kuwabara, president of the IUSD Board of Education, upon Mr. Walker’s appointment as Irvine Unified School District Superintendent)
As Assistant Superintendent, Terrance Lee Walker combined the most effective principles of interest-based bargaining to establish the district’s current system of “mutualistic” negotiations. This strategy has set a standard for collaborative labor negotiations by focusing on common objectives, even during the most challenging budget years. (Ian Hannigan, IUSD News Flash, March 2011)
Mr. Walker’s advancement through the hierarchy of public education testifies to the positive impact he has had on administrators, teachers, students, and community. Serving as a model of achievement and collaboration, Mr. Walker sets a consistent standard of excellence that he encourages others to follow. Upon his acceptance as superintendent, he spoke to the IUSD community of their mutual interest in advancing the district: “The two letters at the center of IUSD spell ‘us,’ and it takes all of our unique gifts and capacities to pave a path of continuous improvement” (Superintendent’s Message: IUSD Website). Speaking to his fellow educators, he explained, “Our role is to make sure that what happens in each and every classroom indicates to each student that it is another great day in an Irvine classroom.”
Mr. Walker represents the best of Department of Education alumni values: accomplishment, an unwavering faith in what can be achieved, and a personal commitment to pass on to others the support, encouragement, and tools he received.