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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Pasadena Unified Names New Chief Academic Officer, Chief Facilities Officer, Special Education Executive Director

Pasadena Unified Names New Chief Academic Officer, Chief Facilities Officer, Special Education Executive Director

by Pasadena Independent
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Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) Superintendent Brian McDonald, Ed.D. has named Shawn Bird, Ed.D. as chief academic officer, Nelson Cayabyab as chief facilities officer and Jerell Hill as executive director, special education.
“Shawn, Nelson and Jerell come to PUSD with a wealth of knowledge and experience that will serve our district well,” said Superintendent McDonald. “Their addition will allow us to develop a peak performing leadership team that will work with me to take PUSD from good to great.”
Shawn Bird has served in public education for 16 years, having been a secondary teacher, principal, university professor, and district level administrator in both Texas and California. He comes to PUSD from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) where he served as lead instructional director in LAUSD’s Intensive Support and Innovation Center. Dr. Bird also teaches graduate level courses as an adjunct professor in the College of Education at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
“I believe that we have a real opportunity to be innovative and create opportunities for all students to experience success as we complete the transition to the Common Core State Standards and the implementation of more rigorous graduation standards,” said Dr. Bird. “I plan to work with the superintendent and board of education to ensure that we are investing in the professional development of our teachers and I look forward to supporting the great work at schools. I am confident that PUSD will be a model for teaching and learning for all of California!”
Dr. Bird holds a Doctorate in Education from the University of Houston in curriculum and instruction with literacy, language, and reading comprehension as the focus area. He is the co-author of Closing the Achievement Gap: How to Pinpoint Student Strengths to Differentiate Instruction and Help Your Striving Readers Succeed published by Scholastic in 2009. Additionally, Dr. Bird is fluent in Spanish.
Nelson Cayabyab is an experienced school facilities official who has directed major school construction and modernization bonds at school districts across Southern California. He previously served as chief of facilities and planning for the Beverly Hills Unified School District where he provided leadership and support services for their $334 million Measure E bond program and led the long range facilities master planning, facilities replacement programs, and the operational functions of the maintenance and operations department. Cayabyab also served as chief of facilities for the Huntington Beach Union High School District where he was a project manager in the implementation of their $264 million Measure C bond projects and as the director of facilities at Irvine Valley College.
“My goal as Pasadena Unified’s chief facilities officer is to be a responsible steward of taxpayer’s money while making sure that high standards are present in the construction and maintenance of PUSD’s historic facilities,” said Cayabyab. “I am also a big believer in transparency and plan on working closely with the Measure TT Citizens Oversight Committee to make it easy to see how tax dollars are being spent.”
As chief of facilities, Cayabyab will be responsible for the management of district facilities, planning, construction, maintenance, and operations and will assume a leadership role in the management of PUSD’s Measure TT bond. Cayabyab began his career in the U.S. Navy and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in engineering systems management and has two master’s degrees.
Jerell Hill is a homegrown talent, having graduated from Pasadena High School and having previously taught at Washington Middle School and Pasadena High School. Hill also comes to PUSD from the Beverly Hills Unified School District where he was their director of special education and student support services. He previously served as a special education program specialist for the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District. Hill’s career in education began at PUSD where he served as an instructor and a department chair for secondary special education. Hill has a master’s in education and special education and is working on a doctorate in educational leadership.
“As an alumnus of PUSD schools, I look forward to returning to Pasadena in order to serve in my community,” said Hill. “With a continued commitment to my home and our students, I consider it a great privilege to return and serve in PUSD once again. I look forward to reuniting with the team.”
Hill’s vision for special education in PUSD is to establish a responsive culture and climate of inclusion based on positive differentiation and meaningful instruction that moves beyond strategy to purpose. With a strong background in curriculum and professional development, Hill looks to play a crucial role in supporting special education students, teachers, parents and administrators with the transition to the Common Core State Standards. As executive director of special education, Hill will be responsible for administering all programs and services for students with special needs, developing collaborative relationships with parents, and directing strategic planning efforts for the division.

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