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Darneika Watson, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools

Darneika WatsonA dedicated academic and operational leader, Dr. Darneika Watson has served students, educators, and families across Los Angeles for more than 30 years. Known for being intelligent, talented, creative, and enthusiastic, she is committed to building positive relationships with students, educators, staff, families, and the community.

Dr. Watson is superintendent of the Glendale Unified School District, the third largest district in Los Angeles County, with more than 25,000 students in grades pre-K through 12. Prior to becoming superintendent, she spent three years as the district’s Chief Human Resources and Operations Officer. Before coming to Glendale, Dr. Watson served the Los Angeles Unified School District for 26 years as a bilingual teacher and coordinator, school administrator, and executive director of district operations. In 2006, she was honored as one of LAUSD’s Top 10 Principals. She also worked at the Los Angeles County Office of Education as part of a collaborative team providing operational support to small districts. 

Dr. Watson credits her family and great mentors for shaping her into the educational leader she is today.  Her parents inspired her love for education; both served as teachers for over 30 years, and she and her siblings followed in their footsteps. Dr. Watson continues to be inspired to do her work because of her two children. She ensured that they attended schools in diverse areas, instilling in them a love and respect for all unique cultures and what their individual peers can bring to the learning environment. Her children are currently attending college at UCLA and Howard University.

Dr. Watson graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She earned a Bilingual-Cross Cultural Language Credential, an Administrative Services Credential, and a Master of Arts from California State University, Dominguez Hills. She also has a Ph.D. in education from Claremont Graduate University, with a research emphasis on understanding and supporting children/youth in foster care.   
A firm believer in the power of education to transform lives, Dr. Watson remains committed to supporting educators and engaging with families to ensure our public schools are safe, welcoming spaces where every child can learn and thrive.