An Interview With Dr. Merrill Grant, Superintendent

Written by California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA), December 2013,  VOLUME VII, ISSUE IV

Head Shot of Dr. Grant, SuperintendentWhat led you to become County Superintendent?

The Sierra County Superintendent position provides a unique opportunity to lead a unified district and also serve as a County Superintendent. I had been in a K-8 district the past six years and really missed the work around high school reform and serving that population. In addition, the county superintendent position provides the opportunity to participate on a statewide level as a member of CCSESA. In my short time as a county superintendent, CCSESA has provided relevant, timely, and highly informative information and training.

What inspired you to enter the field of education?

I was an English major at Chico State and had this grand plan to become a high school teacher pontificating on the finer points of Shakespeare and Hemingway. That dream morphed into my first actual teaching assignment in language arts for junior high, which really indoctrinated me into the teaching profession. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching but began to gravitate into school leadership roles and was encouraged to pursue my administrative credential. I have been a school administrator for eighteen years, the past thirteen as a superintendent.

Do you have a particular goal that drives you?

To make Sierra County education a model of excellence in educating rural youth for the complexities they will face as contributing citizens in the twenty-first century.

What objectives do you hope to achieve?

In Sierra County we are fortunate to have unparalleled natural beauty at our front door. This allows our students to experience nature and work hands-on with the rugged demands of the Eastern Sierra Range. We are working diligently to ensure that our students have access to technology and a “whole child” approach to their educational experience. We wish to take the best of the rural environment and blend it with the sophistication of the twenty-first century learner.

What are your interests?

The past ten years we have been very active in attending events and supporting my daughters in their athletic pursuits. I enjoy running, golf, and I read every night. Just being around family and sharing a good meal seems to be more important every year.

Who are the special people in your life?

My wife of 22 years, Katie, and our three daughters, Alex (UC Santa Barbara), Bridget (CSU Chico), and Cameron (8th grade), are the loves of my life. I also have an incredible extended family on both sides that we spend quality time with.