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Superintendent Finalist Chosen for Merced City Schools. She’s from Another Valley District
the_merced_focus
By The Merced Focus
Published 2 weeks ago on
May 31, 2024

Julianna Stocking, a seasoned educator from Tracy Unified, is poised to take the helm of Merced City School District, marking a hopeful turn in the district's leadership saga. (The Merced FOCUS/ Christian De Jesus Betancourt)

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The Merced City School District’s governing board has selected a Tracy Unified administrator as its top candidate to lead Merced County’s largest school district.

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Brianna Vaccari

The Merced FOCUS

Allen Brooks, board president, announced during Tuesday’s meeting the board met during closed session and selected Julianna Stocking as the finalist for superintendent. The board will bring to a vote an employment contract at an upcoming meeting.

Stocking currently serves as the associate superintendent of educational services at Tracy Unified, according to the district’s website.

“I’m looking forward to serving the students, staff, and families of Merced City School District,” Stocking said in a statement to The Merced FOCUS.

“My heart is in the Valley, as I grew up in Merced County, a proud graduate of Livingston High School. Coming back to the community truly feels like coming home for me.”

If Stocking accepts, she will be the district’s fifth leader since 2020. Brian Meisenheimer now serves as acting superintendent.

District Leader Merry-Go-Round

The district has been without a consistent leader since longtime Superintendent RoseMary Parga Duran retired in December 2019. Al Rogers, Parga Duran’s successor, resigned in 2021 amid sexual harassment allegations.

Since then, the board has gone through a new leader each year. The most recent change in leadership occurred in April 2023 when the board fired Superintendent Diana Jimenez without cause after she was in the position for under a year.

The board hired the Cosca Group last fall to conduct the current superintendent search. It was the second firm to work on the current search after the board cut ties with the first firm.

The board’s goal was to hire the new superintendent by the end of June so they could be ready for the 2024-25 school year when it begins in August.

With nearly 12,000 students and 1,400 staff across 18 schools, Merced City School District is the largest district in the county.

Like other California schools, Merced City’s latest state standardized test scores show a large percentage of the district’s students aren’t meeting benchmarks in reading and math.

In 2022, about one third of the district’s students met or exceeded grade-level standards for English and language arts, according to California Assessment of Student Performance (CAASP) results. That number fell last school year by about 2% to 31%.

The district’s math scores improved slightly within the last year, from 19% to 21% of students meeting grade-level benchmarks.

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