By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
TUSD superintendent Dana Trevethan announces retirement
Dana Trevethan
After 33 years with the Turlock Unified School District, superintendent Dana Trevethan announced her retirement at the end of the current school year (Photo courtesy of TUSD).

After nearly 35 years of working in public education, including 33 with the Turlock Unified School District, superintendent Dana Trevethan is calling it a career.

Late Tuesday evening, Trevethan, 59, informed the TUSD Board of Trustees of her decision to retire at the conclusion of this current school year at the end of July. She then released a statement Wednesday afternoon on the ParentSqaure platform and on TUSD social media channels sharing her decision with the community, which she said came after several months of personal reflection.

“Good health, a growing family, and golden-ager parents make me realize that there is no better time than now for me and them… so it is with a bit of sorrow, but a great deal of optimism and excitement that I share this news with our TUSD families,” she said in her statement. “Thirty-three years in TUSD makes me feel as if I'm leaving one very large family for a much smaller one — but the one that unequivocally deserved my time and energy more than anyone else on this Earth.”

TUSD Director of Communication, Family Engagement and Outreach Marie Russell told the Turlock Journal that Board President Anthony Silva and Board Clerk Lori Carlson will meet this week to discuss a process for selecting the next superintendent.

Dana Trevethan lip sync
During her time as principal of Turlock High School, Dana Trevethan worked with students to compete in the annual Principal’s Spanish Lip Sync contest to win scholarship funds.

“Anthony and I have served TUSD as trustees for nine years, and all of those years have been under Dana’s Superintendency,” Carlson and Silva said in a joint statement. “Watching her lead the district through the pandemic, during what was arguably the most challenging season in public education in a century—we truly had a firsthand look at the quality of Dana as an educational leader and a person! Dana has always endeavored to accommodate requests and respond to concerns from parents, staff, and community members in all ways available to her. She has had an open-door policy and willingly met with any of TUSD’s 1,700 staff members, whether to discuss concerns, career aspirations, or to offer feedback or suggestions in specific work environments. One of Dana’s greatest abilities has been her skill at seeing strengths and effectively placing administrators for greatest professional and district-wide success.

“While Lori watched Dana begin her leadership at the top position of TUSD, Anthony had the privilege of being Dana’s colleague as a fellow teacher at Turlock High School and seeing her rise through the ranks of TUSD from a high school English teacher all the way to becoming Superintendent. We will certainly feel the loss of such a high quality leader for TUSD, but we also support Dana’s decision to retire and enjoy time with her growing family. We wish her all the best and feel grateful to have served TUSD alongside her for the past 9 years.”

Trevethan, who was born in Patterson and raised in Gustine, has three children — an attorney, a police officer in Modesto and a teacher candidate. She also has two grandchildren, with another on the way.

After earning her B.A., teaching credential and Masters in Education and Counseling from California State University, Stanislaus, Trevethan got her start in public education in her hometown as a language arts teacher at Gustine Middle School in 1989. The following school year, Bob Stammerjohan, former assistant superintendent of human resources, hired Trevethan to be an English teacher at Turlock High School, a position she held until 1996. Stammerjohan said it was “my best hire ever.”

“I first met Dana in the early 90s while interviewing teachers at CSUS,” he said. “I was immediately struck by her energy and passion to help students to learn and grow. She quickly demonstrated those same traits after we hired her as an English teacher at Turlock High School. As Tom Parker, the principal at THS at that time, used to say, ‘She’s tiny, but she’s mighty!’” 

During her time as a teacher, Trevethan served as a tennis coach for multiple seasons. She became Turlock High’s Dean of Students from 1996-1999. From 1999 to 2001, she served as the school’s assistant principal of curriculum, instruction and counseling. Ahead of the 2001-2002 school year, she was appointed as Turlock High principal, serving in the position until 2012. As principal, she established the NJROTC Program, the Professional Learning Communities and THS Advisement Period/Program. In 2010, she was named as the Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s Educator of the Year. She also received the California League of High School Educator of the Year award in 2013.

In the summer of 2013, Trevethan moved to the district office to serve as the assistant superintendent of educational services. That year, she was recognized as ACSA Region 7 Secondary Principal of the Year.

In March of 2015, she was tabbed as interim superintendent following the retirement of Sonny Da Marto. In July of 2016, she accepted the full-time position. One of her first responsibilities that year included spearheaded the passage of the $89 million N and O bond measures to address safety improvements, modernization of facilities, updated and improved facilities for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics programs and renovations throughout the district. She also helped develop the district's first Local Control Accountability Plan. 

In 2017, she initiated a partnership with Knowledge Saves Lives and introduced to the Stanislaus County Office of Education implemented a locked door policy and perimeter fencing/single points of entry on all schools. Similarly, she established a partnership with the Sandy Hook Promise and implemented the Stopit! Reporting app/boxes aimed at preventing and reporting bullying and other troubling behavior on campuses.

In 2021, she hired a Coordinator of Equity Initiatives and established the TUSD Equity Task Force, student-led equity councils and classroom equity audits. Last year, she offered support to launch the district's Family Resource Center and Fresh Food for Kids partnership with Second Harvest of the Greater Valley.

“As someone who has had the privilege of knowing Dana both as a student under her leadership at Turlock High School as a principal and now as a colleague, I can attest to her commitment to students, families, staff and the TUSD community,” said TUSD Coordinator of Equity Initiatives Angelica Cardenas Ayala. “She has had a profound influence on me personally. Dana has inspired me to strive for excellence in my own role as Coordinator of Equity Initiatives, and her mentorship has shaped me into a better leader… While I am saddened by the news of Dana's retirement, I am also filled with so much gratitude for the positive changes she has brought to TUSD and the impact she has had on my life.”

Trevethan has also become known amongst students for her popular Student Senate meetings and amongst new staff for her annual 15-minute meet-and-greets.

“She has gone out of her way to make employees feel valued, to be the ‘US’ in TUSD,” said Cecilia Chaves, secretary at Turlock Adult School and president of the Turlock Federation of Classified Employees, Local 2424A.

“I’ve witnessed Dana’s career since her student teaching days at Turlock High School. Her motor has always run at a tremendously high speed while she has employed an extraordinary vision and game plan to maximize every student’s opportunity to learn and grow,“ said Ed Felt, former assistant superintendent of business services. “Her retirement will be the first break she’s ever taken over her 33 plus years in education.”

Last year, Trevethan was named the Region 7 ACSA Superintendent of the Year.

“Thank you to TUSD for allowing me to serve as a teacher, coach, dean, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and most recently as superintendent for the past nine years,” Trevethan continued in her statement. “It has been an incredible privilege and honor to witness the progress TUSD has made over the past three decades and the positive impact our graduates have had in our community and the world.  I feel fortunate to live in a community that prioritizes education and young people, and I will forever be a TUSD advocate…including in my most cherished role as ‘Nonie’ to my grandchildren.”