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November 6, 2018 — California General Election

Tulare County Office of EducationCandidate for Superintendent of Schools

Photo of Craig Wheaton

Craig Wheaton

Deputy Superintendent
41,680 votes (47.63%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • School safety for all through a comprehensive approach that includes training and preparation for serious events and prevention efforts to get at the root cause of violence.
  • Providing real world skills for our graduates that prepare them for a career or college.
  • Developing model programs to meet the needs of all kids in Tulare County.



My name is Craig Wheaton, Deputy Superintendent for the County Office of Education and former Superintendent of Visalia. 


My life began on a small family farm, and as a child I often spent time on a tractor in my father’s lap while my mother taught school, she had to, to help ends meet. From those simple beginnings, I have spent my life serving children in the valley.

Though I am humbled to be a candidate for Tulare County Superintendent of Schools, my parents, if they were still alive, would be proud of my career of service and that I am a candidate for superintendent.

My parents sacrificed so that I could be successful and I want to provide every child with the opportunities I have had.


Most of my career was in a small school district, teaching in continuation, coaching, counseling, and as a high school assistant principal, then years as an elementary principal. Those small district experiences are what gave me the skills to be successful.


In Visalia Unified,I directed school improvement, supervised secondary schools, and spent six years as superintendent. During those years graduation rates went from 80% to 95%, we passed a bond built schools, opened VTEC Charter, and established career academies at the high schools. 


I want to continue the great work that Jim Vidak has done over the last three decades and to continue his legacy and meet the new challenges before us.


In order to do that, I would:


  • Increase College and Career Readiness Skills by creating strong partnerships with local businesses and school districts
  • Expand & Sustain Student Programs such as SCICON – our science and conservation camp, Student Events, and Character Counts! Pre School and After school programs
  • Work with small communities to bring reliable community wide wifi.
  • And I would work every day to make sure our students safe at school.


I’ve often been asked so I would like to share just three differences between myself and my opponent:


First, I’m a lifelong learner, earning a doctorate from Pepperdine University in Education Leadership. I believe the Superintendent should strive to achieve the highest level of education. Professional learning is important and I currently work with doctoral students here in the valley.


Second, I know the job, that only comes with being Deputy Superintendent. Jim Vidak hired me three years ago and thru his mentorship I have learned about the role at a deep level.


Third, my depth of experience and proven leadership, which ranges from small schools, to a large district, and the county, School improvement & budgets, has a proven record of improved student achievement.  I get things done.


All of my children and now my grandchildren attend public school.


That’s why I’m here. This isn’t just another job opportunity for me. I’m here for the hundred thousand students in Tulare County!!  

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