The Kern County Board of Education has appointed Dr. Mary Barlow as Kern County Superintendent of Schools following the retirement of Dr. Christine Lizardi Frazier, whose last day was January 31, 2017. Barlow was sworn into office in January and will complete the remainder of Frazier’s term, which ends in 2018. The announcement was made during the Board’s December meeting, after Barlow received resounding support from a large cross section of the private sector, educational community and various partnering agencies.
“Dr. Barlow has proven herself as an extremely effective leader who is passionate about the services that KCSOS provides to students and in support of Kern’s local school districts. She is a champion for collaboration and the best person to lead KCSOS into the future,” said Donald Cowan, President of the Kern County Board of Education.
Dr. Barlow has spent the majority of her career in education, serving as a teacher, Director of Children and Family Services, and a district superintendent. During her tenure as Superintendent of the Kernville Union School District, she successfully modernized all district schools and constructed a new middle school while focusing on increasing student achievement. Under her leadership the district was named a California Distinguished School, Title 1 Academic Excellence District, and was recognized at the state level for its nutrition and wellness programs promoting student health.
Barlow joined the Kern County Superintendent of Schools (KCSOS) in 2009 as the Deputy Administrative Officer for the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), an agency that provides fiscal intervention for school districts, county offices of education, charter schools and community colleges throughout California. In 2012, she was appointed as Assistant Superintendent of Administration, Finance & Accountability for KCSOS, leading the fiscal oversight and support for Kern’s 47 local school districts. Barlow was appointed Associate Superintendent of KCSOS in 2014, a role in which she has provided daily operational oversight of the county-run programs as well as the divisions that support 47 Kern County school districts serving more than 180,000 students.
Barlow attended Cerro Coso Community College at the Lake Isabella and Ridgecrest campuses before transferring as a junior to CSU Bakersfield where she earned her bachelor of arts in psychology in 1994. She went on to earn a master’s degree in Educational Management and an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from the University of LaVerne.
Barlow serves the community in different capacities including the Association of California School Administrators, Kern County Treasurer and Tax Collector Advisory Committee, the Kern County Emergency Management Care Advisory Board, the Rotary Club of Bakersfield (Downtown), and past Co-Chair of First Five Kern Commission. She is a proud founder of the Kern River Valley Collaborative, a network of county, private and nonprofit agencies dedicated to delivering direct medical, dental, and social services to Kern River Valley children and their families.
“I’m humbled to be given this opportunity to continue to uphold the Kern County office of education’s unwavering commitment to being advocates for children in our community, “Barlow said. “I look forward to continuing to support our districts as they implement outcomes-based Local Control and Accountability plans, expanding our partnerships with the private sector around innovative Career Technical Education and college / career pathways and moving the educational community forward in terms of innovation and technology in the classroom.”