Dr. Faris Sabbah
The County Superintendent of Schools and the County Office of Education play a critical role in supporting the creation of safe and supportive learning environments for all students. This is achieved by working with school district superintendents to set the overarching academic goals for the county’s public education system and support specific efforts to help students achieve those aims.
Over the past 25 years, Dr. Faris Sabbah has served as county deputy superintendent, county assistant superintendent, university professor, director, assistant principal, teacher, and instructional aide. He obtained his bachelor’s in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz, his masters in Educational Leadership from San Jose State University, and his doctorate in Leadership for Educational Equity from UC Berkeley.
He carries a deep sense of urgency to disrupt inequitable practices. He is committed to partnering with districts and other organizations to create a network of support that propel our students to achieve and thrive.
Dr. Sabbah is committed to the values of diversity, equity and inclusion as he helps lead the evolution of the County Office of Education in addressing the needs of students, districts, and the community. His top priorities are to support students and districts by expanding the COE presence throughout the county, engage the community through an ambitious communication plan, develop a data-driven culture of improvement, create safe spaces for all students, and build programs and opportunities that uplift the voices of students.
As educators we are charged with the responsibility to help students learn about the important history that has shaped the world we live in today, build their capacity for critical thinking and encourage them to participate in civic engagement to help make their communities safer, more just, and prosperous. It is essential that we prioritize equity in our schools and communities by embracing courageous conversations about race so that we can collectively transform our schools and communities into places of love, safety, accountability and equitable opportunities. As one key step in that direction, the Santa Cruz COE has created a resource hub to help educators facilitate courageous conversations about race and equity as part of our Initiative for Racial Equity and Justice.
Santa Cruz COE Annual reports
In March 2020 the Governor declared a State of Emergency. During the pandemic, it was unclear the extent of the danger and the length of the crisis. At the end of 2019-2020 and the 2020-2021 school year, we spent most of our efforts partnering and aligning with all districts, charter leaders, private leaders, community healthcare providers, teachers, and other community partners. Through global health crises, fires, and a movement for racial justice, this journey framed so many of our decisions.