Bill Cirone, Santa Barbara county superintendent of schools, has a long track record of leadership in education, business, and civic affairs. Elected to his current position in 1982, he is in his eighth four-year term having served 29 years, and is currently the longest-serving county superintendent in the state of California. He has been a teacher and administrator, and has also worked as an executive in the private sector.
Bill has chaired the California Arts Task Force, the National Community Education Association, and the California Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT). Bill also served on the board of the Santa Barbara Community Foundation for nine years where he was the board chairman for two years. He is on the board of the National Center for Learning and Citizenship (past chair), First 5 Commission of Santa Barbara County (chair), the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and Fighting Back Task Force (co-chair), and KDB Santa Barbara Classical Radio (past chair).
He has received numerous awards for his achievements, including the Anti-Defamation League Distinguished Community Service Award, Santa Barbara News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award, Santa Barbara Public Servant of the Year Award, Community Action Commission Champions and Lifetime Achievement Awards, Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA) Outstanding County Superintendent Award, and the Wildlife Sanctuary Community Service Award. He was also the first superintendent to receive the California State PTA Honorary Service Award.
The driving philosophy behind all of Bill' s educational accomplishments is his deep-rooted belief that all kids can learn.
He also believes that community service and service-learning are a critical means for helping to achieve "civic literacy"—the knowledge of how to be a productive citizen in our society—and for helping students to become responsibly engaged in their communities.
Bill works in partnership with both the print and electronic media to provide the public with a mix of commentaries about critical issues and parenting tips. His radio commentaries and TV shows air daily on several county radio and TV stations, and his newspaper columns appear biweekly as well.
Bill champions teachers and the daily miracles they perform in our classrooms. He writes: ''If our students are our future as a community and a society, then teachers are the unsung heroes and heroines who mold the future through their skills, their wiles, and their daily feats. When I was teaching in Harlem I used to feel that teachers were ensuring their own immortality because their ideas and the lives they touched would live on after them. I realize now that teachers ensure immortality for all of us. The school districts are the vehicles used as the delivery system for that lofty purpose. A strong system of public education shores up the very foundation of a democracy."