Debbie Gold - BUSD superintendent

Byron Union School District Superintendent Debbie Gold in her office on Byron, Calif., on Thursday, February 22, 2018, (Tony Kukulich/The Press)

Feature: Debbie Gold

Agency: Byron Union School District (BUSD)

Byron Union School District (BUSD) Superintendent Debbie Gold has three passions in her life – education, horses and travel – and it was her love of horses that helped her discover her passion for education.

Gold moved to California when she enrolled in a master’s program at San Francisco State. She was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, and earned her undergraduate degree in liberal studies from her hometown school, Ohio State University (OSU).

Growing up around horses, Gold said she doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t know how to ride. She was an active competitor in a variety of equestrian events and even took her horse with her when she enrolled at OSU. When she arrived in California, Gold put herself through school by giving riding lessons.

She was living in Half Moon Bay and secured a staff position as a riding instructor at a Montessori school. An administrator at the school recognized Gold’s affinity for teaching and urged her to get her credentials. Gold followed that advice and soon discovered her love of education

“I told all of my friends that if I could just get a job teaching kindergarten, I’ll do that for the rest of my life,” said Gold.

Her first job in education was teaching kindergarten, and while she loved it, she began to consider becoming a principal and knew that she would need experience teaching other grades. An assistant principal job in Antioch brought Gold to East County and a succession of jobs with increasing responsibility led her to the BUSD superintendent position five years ago.

“I love the kids, and that’s my priority,” said Gold. “That’s my absolute No. 1. I was a special-education director, and I really enjoy seeing the success of all children, especially the special-needs children. And we do have classes for special education in this district. It’s wonderful to see their progress – to see them as they develop.”

Gold now lives just a few minutes from her office in Knightsen. Her property allowed her two children the space to raise all kinds of animals while they were involved in 4-H and the Future Farmers of America, and Gold still keeps her horses there. She taught her children to ride when they were just toddlers, and now her grandchildren are learning.

Of her third passion, Gold said, “I get the travel bug, and I just want to go.”

To date, Gold said she has visited 50 countries. Last year she fulfilled a lifelong dream of going on a gorilla trek in Uganda, and her next trip will take her to the ruins of ancient Greece.