EL CENTRO — Doug Kline, superintendent of the Calipatria Unified School District and acting principal of Grace Smith Elementary School in Niland, is the 2019 winner of the Imperial County Office of Education’s Above and Beyond Award.
The award was presented Thursday night after press deadline during the 2019 Celebration of Education held at the Jimmie Cannon Theatre at Southwest High School.
The Above and Beyond Award recognizes individuals in Imperial County who impact the educational community through leadership and service. This award honors educators, students and community leaders who exemplify the best of character, leadership and a sense of caring and responsibility for others.
Kline is a lifelong educator with a love for serving the north county communities of Calipatria, Niland and Bombay Beach.
He began his career as a teacher in Seeley Union Elementary School District. In 1999, Kline became a principal in the Calipatria Unified School District. In 2006, he became the superintendent of the district with an enrollment of 1,168. He has served in the capacity of superintendent for the past 13 years.
During his tenure, Kline has brought systemic change and support to this Northend community. He created a clothes and commodity resource center for families in need. He has worked tirelessly to improve and build facilities within the district, even leading the effort to build a pool on campus and establishing a free-swimming program for the city of Calipatria, often teaching swimming classes himself. Recently he was recognized through the federal migrant program for his summer work with Migrant Education Program students.
Doug was instrumental in partnering with companies such as Costco to implement student reading academies and helped build and sustain a renewable energy vocational program at Calipatria High School.
In addition to his role as superintendent, Kline was on the IVC Bond Oversight Committee and SDSU’s Dean Advisory Board. He has also acted as chair of Special Education Local Planning Area’s Executive Committee.
Kline has been a member of Calipatria’s Chamber of Commerce and has served as the legislative liaison for the local Association of California School Administrators chapter.
ICOE noted that what people often mention about Kline is his heart for kids and their families. “In addition to his commitment to providing academic and career opportunities to his students, he is also passionate about providing them with their basic needs. He places an emphasis on their social and emotional development through district wide initiatives,” ICOE said.
Those initiatives include organizing yearly food and toy drives — serving as Santa himself.
As superintendent, Kline begins each day in the city of Niland, high fiving and greeting the 80-plus students at Grace Smith Elementary School.
“He knows every student by name and the love he feels for each student is evident in his smile and hugs,” ICOE said. “He is passionate about ensuring that all students receive a top-notch education and that these students feel loved, seen and capable of anything.”
Whether he is serving corn dogs in the after-school program, singing karaoke with his students or leading his district toward academic excellence, Kline does so with a positive spirit, ICOE said.
“Mr. Kline is committed to educating, supporting and caring for the whole child — which just happens to be the theme of ICOE’s Celebration of Education for 2019.”