Education

She led Merced city schools through the recession and tough times. Now she’s retiring

Modernization project celebrated at Fremont Elementary

Students and staff at Fremont Elementary School in Merced, Calif., held a ceremony on Monday, celebrating the school’s transformation thanks to Measure M Bond funding. The project cost about $7.5 million, according to the school district.
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Students and staff at Fremont Elementary School in Merced, Calif., held a ceremony on Monday, celebrating the school’s transformation thanks to Measure M Bond funding. The project cost about $7.5 million, according to the school district.

Longtime leader of the Merced City School District, Superintendent RoseMary Parga, will retire at the end of this year.

The MCSD board unanimously approved an agreement accepting Parga Duran’s retirement during a special board meeting Thursday, according to a news release. Parga Duran, who has led the school district since she became its first female superintendent 11 years ago, will officially retire on Dec. 31.

“It has been my great joy and honor to serve the students, staff, families, and community members of the Merced City School District,” Parga Duran said. “While I am looking forward to this next chapter, I know that I will miss working with all of the outstanding employees who share my passion for education.”

The school board plans to discuss at a future board meeting the hiring a firm to conduct a search for a new superintendent, MCSD spokesperson Sara Sandrik said.

Parga Duran started her career in education as a teacher after graduating from Fresno State University, according to the release.

She also served as a vice principal, principal and associate superintendent before taking the reins of the school district in 2008.

Parga Duran led the district through through the recession without laying off any employees, continuing to fiscally keep the school district solvent with a healthy reserve balance, the release states. She also pushed for the district’s successful Measure M bond, which allowed several school campuses to modernize and receive safety upgrades.

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The longtime superintendent of the Merced City School District, RoseMary Parga Duran, will retire at the end of the 2019, the district announced. The MCSD school board approved her retirement Thursday, July 11, 2019. Courtesy Merced City School District

The superintendent’s other successes include bringing “new technology, engaging curriculum and expanded learning opportunities” to the district’s 18 schools.

For her efforts, Parga Duran received two California School Boards Association Golden Bell awards for the district’s STEAM and preschool programs.

“I am proud of everything we have accomplished together,” Parga Duran says in the release. “And I leave knowing that our young scholars are in great hands.”

Parga Duran plans to look at any personal or professional opportunities she may have after she retires, Sandrik said.

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MCSD Superintendent Dr. RoseMary Parga Duran leads the audience in a celebratory activity during the STEAM Center dedication ceremony on Wednesday Oct. 25, 2017. Merced City School District

MCSD Board President Adam Cox read a statement Thursday expressing the board’s appreciation of Parga Duran.

“Dr. Parga Duran cares deeply about the students, staff members, and families in this district, and we wish her all the best as she begins this next chapter in her life.”

Vikaas Shanker is an award-winning reporter covering education, crime and courts for the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise. After growing up in Naperville, Illinois and graduating from the University of Kansas, he reported in several Chicago suburbs before moving to Merced County in 2016.
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