Beginning next year, Dr. Nellie Meyer will replace Superintendent Jeff Harding, becoming the district’s first female superintendent. Meyer has served as the superintendent for Mount Diablo Unified School District for the past six years and has formerly worked as a high school teacher and principal.
Superintendent Meyer moved back to California six years ago with the goal to positively impact students and their education. Meyer said her passion is driven by her care for students and desire to provide them with the best education possible. Through this position, she said she can most effectively help her community and students’ lives.
“My compassion for students has allowed me to pursue problems with full force and dedicate more time to finding solutions and being superintendent,” Meyer said.
At MDUSD, Meyer’s current school district, she became superintendent after the former superintendent’s contract was terminated after distrust and low morale were spread in the community. Meyer changed the culture in the district, promoting enthusiasm and fostering high-spirits throughout the district. She expanded the International Baccalaureate program, an education program focused on international understanding during her time. And Meyer said she also improved college and career programs, restored school athletics, robotics, and arts programs. She additionally oversaw the opening of three regional magnet schools for the district. Meyer helped sort out budget issues in her district that has 56,000 students.
Meyer said she genuinely cares about students and education and has learned the “power of listening” to the community in order to bring about changes that most benefit the school. According to Meyer, she’s learned that the best solutions are found by collaborating with students.
“I’ve noticed at times parents and students aren’t involved in school decision . . . it is important to listen to them since they are affected by the changes. It is essential to try and hear from as many perspectives as possible,” Meyer said.
Meyer said she tries to make sure that everyone’s listened too and feels respected in order to build a stronger community and district. She said she believes that being superintendent is built in creating trust among the district, being willing to listen to people, and being consistent in what you believe in. Her first goal at the MVLA district is to try and get to know her colleagues and community and a build relationship with the community and staff.
According to Meyer, she also plans to familiarize herself with programs and initiatives that have been successful for the district and expand on them with input from the community, teachers, parents, and students to hear changes they would like to see. Meyer said she is overwhelmed with excitement to contribute.
She said she was attracted to the MVLA district because of how vibrant and high-spirited it is. Meyer said that she is eager to work with students, parents, and school staff in the near future.
“The community cares for the students and their wellbeing and success and I am excited to join them in doing just that,” Meyer said.
Meyer said she wants to target the large-scale problem of students placing excessive pressure on themselves to do exceedingly well. Meyer has a son who is 24 and daughter who is finishing her freshman year in high school, and as a mom and educator, she has noticed the increasing amount of pressure students put on themselves through extracurriculars, academics, and sports. She said she wants to help students navigate their way through the pressure and high school to find a healthy balance.
Meyer said she is looking forward to visiting the district soon and interacting with the community and encourages students to ask question and share ideas that they think are important and deserve attention.