Longtime Contra Costa County Superintendent Suddenly Passes Away

The former Superintendent of Schools for Contra Costa County Office of Education, Joseph A. Ovick, Ed.D., died unexpectedly, early Thursday morning. Dr. Ovick was an educator for 45 years, with nearly two decades of that spent as the Superintendent for Contra Costa County.

He began his career as a Special Education teacher in Santa Clara County before joining the Contra Costa COE, where he worked as Director of Special Education, Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, and Associate Superintendent for Business. In 1996, he began his service as the elected County Superintendent of schools, and held that position for 18 years.

“Dr. Ovick was a true champion of students and schools during his 45 years as an educator,” said current County Superintendent of Schools, Karen Sakata. “He was a wonderful friend and mentor to me, beginning back in our early days working in Santa Clara County. This is truly a sad day for our agency, our county and the education community.”

The East Bay Times provided a wonderful editorial about Dr. Ovick in which they described him as “the rock of the education establishment in Contra Costa County,” citing him as “honest, congenial and a true, true believer in the power of education.”

Dr. Ovick taught at Chapman University’s Graduate School of Education and San Jose State University. He served on the boards for the East Bay Leadership Council and the Contra Costa County Children and Families Policy Forum. In 2012, he served as president of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, where he continued to serve on their executive board after his retirement.

He was the recipient of several awards from various organizations throughout his career for his dedication to education and serving his community. And in 2008, the Contra Costa County Board of Education unanimously voted to honor Dr. Ovick by dedicating CCCOE’s community school in Brentwood as the “Joseph A. Ovick School.”

Read more about Dr. Ovick’s successes and legacy at DanvilleSanRamon.com.

Photo Courtesy of Contra Costa County Office of Education