Mary C. Barlow became Kern County Superintendent of Schools in 2017. Her appointment follows a distinguished career as a teacher, family resource center director and Superintendent.
Mary was raised in southern California before moving to the Kern River Valley. She attended Cerro Coso Community College at the Lake Isabella and Ridgecrest campuses before transferring as a junior to CSU Bakersfield where she earned her bachelor of arts in psychology in 1994. Mary went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Management and an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from the University of LaVerne.
Mary has spent the majority of her career in education, serving as a teacher, Director of Children and Family Services, and Superintendent. During her tenure as Superintendent of the Kernville Union School District, she successfully modernized all district schools and constructed a new middle school while focusing on increasing student achievement. Under her leadership the district was named a California Distinguished School, Title I Academic Excellence District and was recognized at the state level for their nutrition and wellness programs promoting student health.
Mary joined the Kern County Superintendent of Schools in 2009 as the Deputy Administrative Officer for the Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), an agency that provides fiscal intervention for school districts, county offices of education, charter schools and community colleges throughout California. Mary also served as Assistant Superintendent of Administration, Finance & Accountability for Kern County Superintendent of Schools, leading the County Office of Education’s fiscal oversight and support for Kern’s 47 local school districts. Prior to her appointment as County Superintendent, Mary served as Associate Superintendent, providing the operational oversight for KCSOS and its work in support of Kern County school districts.
Mary has served the community in different capacities including the Association of California School Administrators, Kern County Treasurer and Tax Collector Advisory Committee, the Kern County Emergency Management Care Advisory Board, the Rotary Club of Bakersfield (Downtown), and past Co-Chair of First Five Kern Commission. She is a proud founder of the Kern River Valley Collaborative, a network of county, private and nonprofit agencies dedicated to delivering direct medical, dental, and social services to Kern River Valley children and their families. Mary and her husband Steve have three sons, all of whom graduated from college.
Mary is excited to lead KCSOS and Kern County School Districts into the future by focusing on the development and implementation of Local Control & Accountability Plans, increased partnerships with the private sector around Career Technical Education and moving our community forward in terms of innovation and technology in the classroom.