Clovis Unified Superintendent, Walter L. Buster, Ed.D. announces plans to retire June 30, 2002
In his letter to President Heryford, Dr. Buster expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Board for the wonderful seven years in an extraordinary district. He wrote, "The Governing Board provided me with constant support and sound advice during my years of service. I am most appreciative of the Board’s clear direction and the establishment of district goals that were focused and based on the needs of students." He added, "It was a pleasure to work for a Governing Board that demonstrated on a regular basis that the superintendent was expected to care about the ‘Mind, Body, and Spirit’ of the district employees and students."
Dr. Buster brought a number of innovative programs to the District during his tenure as superintendent. His relationships with Toshiba, Microsoft, and IBM led to the Anytime, Anywhere, Anyone, Anyone Learning (Laptop) program in which students, grades 7-12, use laptops in classes and at home. District data show that students using laptops achieve at higher levels on District and State tests than students not using laptops. According to Buster, "The laptop program isn’t about learning to use technology. It’s about students accessing information to support academics and to become more motivated to learn." When the program started in 1996, ninety-four students carried laptops. This year, over 6,000 students are participating in the program.
Committed to the philosophy that "successful students are students who read well," Buster introduced Community of Readers, a volunteer tutoring program, for students in grades 2-3 who have difficulty learning to read. Hundreds of adults and teen volunteers help children become better readers. This past school year, over 500 volunteers read with children in elementary schools across the district.
Dr. Buster’s vision and ability to reach out to fellow educators, as well as the business community, helped to make the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART) a dream come true for students in Clovis and Fresno Unified. He worked closely with Fresno Unified to develop a Joint Powers Agreement between the two districts. Opening in the fall of 2000, CART is widely recognized as a successful, high technology, project-based program that has reformed the comprehensive high school to offer real-life experiences to juniors and seniors.
Upon learning of Dr. Buster’s plans to retire at the end of the school year, Board President Brian Heryford commented, "Beyond the innovation and outstanding leadership he brought to Clovis Unified School District, Walt Buster will be remembered by students, employees, board members, and the community for his caring attitude, wisdom, and sense of humor. He will be missed."