VIDEO: Lynwood Unified’s Top Leader Named Los Angeles County Superintendent of the Year

Lynwood Unified School District Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite, Ph.D., has been honored as the 2023 Los Angeles County Superintendent of the Year by the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), a recognition that reflects his unwavering commitment to student success and outstanding leadership.

Crosthwaite received the surprise recognition from Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo, Ed.D., during the District’s annual State of the District on Oct. 20. The announcement was met with enthusiastic cheers from District students, the Board of Education, staff and community members.

“I want to thank LACOE for such a prestigious honor – one that I was not expecting,” Crosthwaite said. “This recognition is a result of the collective efforts of our team and the community. Together we have worked tirelessly to create an environment in which students, regardless of background or circumstances, can thrive. I am beyond grateful for the dedication of our parents, staff, students and the community for sharing their commitment to excellence in education and equity for all. Our work continues from here!”

LACOE introduced the prestigious award in 2017 in recognition of leadership in learning, excellence in communication and dedicated community involvement. LACOE highlighted Crosthwaite’s contributions to education over the last 30 years, which have consistently prioritized the welfare of children, families, staff and the wider community beyond Lynwood Unified’s boundaries.

“Dr. Crosthwaite leads with empathy, strength and compassion. He constantly looks for opportunities to build capacity and inspires creative ways to support students and staff,” Duardo said. “He transformed the District's approach to education while making an additional impact to the most vulnerable student populations. Today we celebrate his exceptional leadership in advocating for children, families, staff and the community.”

Since joining Lynwood Unified in 2010, Crosthwaite’s collaborative work and leadership has been instrumental in the District’s extraordinary gains in student achievement, including rising graduation rates and increasing participation and success in Advanced Placement coursework. Other recognitions include Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports awards given to every campus in 2022 and 2023, a $24.5 million Community Schools state grant to enhance educational opportunities for students, and several Golden Bell awards, including a 2023 award for the Lynwood Jobs Opportunity for Youth program.

Additionally, in collaboration with Lynwood Unified administrators, Crosthwaite helped secure a historic $250 million grant from the California legislature in July of 2022 to rebuild Lynwood High School’s Imperial Campus. The state grant is the largest allocation to have been awarded to any District in the state.

“Dr. Crosthwaite has an innovative approach to leadership that has placed the well-being and inclusivity of students above all else,” Board President Alfonso Morales, Esq. said. “His efforts have transformed the District and established noteworthy standards in the region and across the country. We are extremely proud to call him our superintendent and he is fully deserving of this recognition.”

To support the broader educational community, Crosthwaite also serves on several committees, including the National Academies of Science and League of Innovative Schools, the Google GSV Education Innovation Fellowship, Rotary International, the California Department of Education Diversity Taskforce, the California School Boards Association Golden Bell Committee and the LACOE Superintendent’s Advisory Council.

Crosthwaite will be formally recognized during the Los Angeles County Superintendents’ Professional Collaborative Conference on Friday, Oct. 27.