Throughout his career in both K-12 and post-secondary education, Keith Larick has been lauded by his colleagues as exemplary in his belief in and commitment to education. A retired superintendent, having served in Placentia-Yorba Linda, Sacramento City and Tracy Unified school districts for more than 20 years, Larick currently serves as the chair of the Brandman University doctoral program. He is also this year’s winner of the ACSA Professor of Education Award.
Larick has more than 30 years’ experience in doctoral programs and chairing dissertation research. As an educational leader and professor, he has supported and developed countless generations of California educators and has served as a consultant to more than 300 businesses (IBM, ACER, DEC, Apple, NASA) and educational organizations. His journey to school administration was led largely by mentors, Larick said.
“My first year as a teacher at Upland Elementary School, I worked for an extraordinary principal who served as role model and mentor. Mr. Dick Riley focused his leadership on a strong purpose and values that were dedicated to service. He guided and gave me opportunity to understand the challenges of school leadership and the amazing rewards that come from service to public education.”
Under Larick’s leadership the nation’s first classroom of the future was developed in partnership with AT&T, IBM and NIEU. He continues the same kind of innovative commitment to pushing education forward by leading workshops and presentations on the topic of the Future of Education and future trends.
“(As a) sixth grade teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and more than 20 years as superintendent and university professor, people amaze and inspire me each day,” Larick said. “Being a teacher and a leader gives an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the people around you. Every day there is an opportunity to change someone’s life for the better by what you say or do. I don’t know what I would rather have done than be an educational leader.”
Larick’s publications include “Eight Tasks for Superintendents of the 90s,” “Can School Leadership Transform – To Face the Future?,” “Classrooms of the Future, The Futurist.” He is also the author of the book, “Doing Something About Educational Failure.”
His future plans include finalizing a book called “From Breakdown to Breakthrough,” which he is working on with his university colleagues. The book studies what great leaders do to work through conflict to find common ground, leading to extraordinary change and success, and comes from five years of research that includes superintendents, principals, national health care leaders, police chiefs, CEOs in technology, big city mayors and business executives.
As a charter member of ACSA, Larick has participated across nearly all levels, from offering professional development for the Leading the Leaders program for 15 years, to numerous presentations at ACSA conferences and symposiums. He has served as the charter president of Region 12 and represented ACSA in front of the California Senate.
Larick also co-chaired the State Technology Committee and is the Past Chair of the Region 17 ACSA Legislative Committee. He has also been previously recognized by ACSA with the Exemplary Service Award and as the Region 7 Superintendent of the Year.
Larick said he is honored to have helped advocate for students as part of the association.
“ACSA is a critical voice for educational equity and social justice for all California’s students,” he said. “It is the single most important advocate for students in California. While California is a large state with more than 20,000 school leaders, it is a community of people dedicated to serving California’s students. ACSA is the magic ingredient that brings all that energy together.”