In 2013, Dr. John Garcia returned to his roots in Downey when he was selected to be Downey Unified School District’s Superintendent. He is the fourth Superintendent since 1971 and the first ever Downey Unified alum to serve as Superintendent.
Dr. Garcia attended Carpenter Elementary, South Middle and graduated from Downey High School in 1985. He earned his Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Urban Leadership at the Claremont Graduate University, as well as an Executive MBA at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. He holds a second Master’s Degree in Education Administration from California State University, Fullerton and a Bachelor’s Degree from California State University, Long Beach.
In Dr. Garcia’s 30 years in the field of public education, he has served in five California districts where he held the roles as a teacher, site administrator, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources/Director of Classified Personnel, and Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services. He continues his passion for educating others by currently serving as an Adjunct Professor for the doctoral program at the Claremont Graduate University School of Educational Studies.
In addition to his work in the state of California, Dr. Garcia has also been involved at the national and international levels, serving as the Chief Ambassador for a delegation of educators who traveled to Isehara City, Japan. In that role, Dr. Garcia visited schools and facilitated the exchange of ideas and practices between American and Japanese education systems. Dr. Garcia has also studied the relationship between education, government and non-profit organizations at Templeton College at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Garcia still considers Downey home, where he formed lifelong friendships that began in elementary school and into his years at DHS. Dr. Garcia and his wife Nicole have two children, Madeline (26) and Jacob (22). Because of his father’s great school experiences and family legacy of DHS grads, in 2014, his son Jacob chose to attend DHS and graduated in 2018. Dr. Garcia has shared that handing Jacob his DHS diploma has been one of the true highlights since becoming Superintendent.