In honor of the 20th Kern County Superintendent of Schools — Dr. Christine Lizardi Frazier, who served in the role from 2009-2017 — KCSOS today dedicated its newest facility as the Christine Lizardi Frazier Student Services Center.
Formerly known as the “Chase Building,” the facility is located at the corner of 17th Street and Chester Avenue in downtown Bakersfield. The Center’s second and third floors house administrative office space for KCSOS programs that directly serve students and families throughout Kern County. These include KCSOS’s alternative education program (court and community schools), Camp KEEP, early childhood education, special education, Kern County Consortium SELPA, and Valley Oaks Charter School.
“These student programs serve some of our most vulnerable students, and they do so with compassion and integrity – traits instilled in KCSOS staff by Dr. Frazier and all our former Superintendents,” said current Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary C. Barlow. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Frazier, her tremendous accomplishments, and the lasting impact she had on so many Kern County students and families.”
Dr. Frazier was the first woman and first Latina to be elected to the position. She began her 40-year career in education as a teacher, supporting young students who, like her, came from humble beginnings and yet were ready to conquer the world.
Frazier was a Migrant Resource teacher in the Richland School District in Shafter and later went on to serve as assistant principal and principal with that same district. In 1992, she was hired as Superintendent of the Kernville Union School District, and later joined the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office to support struggling school districts through the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team. In 2009, Dr. Frazier became Kern County Superintendent of Schools and was elected two more times, overseeing nearly 2,000 employees and supporting Kern County school districts with her bold and sensible leadership.
During her tenure as Superintendent, Dr. Frazier helped KCSOS and Kern County districts navigate significant cuts to education because of the recession, always keeping a focus on the needs of students and families. She helped implement the Local Control Funding Formula, serving as a champion for local control and the ability of districts to serve students in unique ways – driven by local conditions and needs.
Dr. Frazier was a champion for early childhood education, understanding that the academic careers of students start at preschool. She opened the Kern County Network for Children’s Dream Center, serving emancipated foster youth with education, housing, and job skills.
“It is such an honor for me to be able to say thank you to my mentor and someone who paved the way for my election as Kern County Superintendent of Schools,” Barlow said. “Chris is my friend, confidant, and someone who always encouraged me, and others around her, that anything is possible with hard work and commitment.”