Dr. Maria Ott


Executive in Residence
USC School of Education
Los Angeles, California 
(Term expires 10/21)

Maria G. Ott, Ph.D. was the Superintendent of the Rowland Unified School District, serving the communities of Rowland Heights, La Puente, Walnut, West Covina and the City of Industry. Dr. Ott was selected as Superintendent in July 2005, following a national search. Prior to joining Rowland Unified, Dr. Ott served five years as the Senior Deputy Superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), second in authority to Superintendent Roy Romer, former three-term Governor of Colorado.

Dr. Ott was recruited to serve as the educational deputy to Superintendent Romer in 2000. Dr. Ott returned to LAUSD after seven years as the Superintendent of the Little Lake City School District, serving the cities of Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk and southeastern Downey. During her tenure, she was known for her accomplishments in improving student achievement, utilizing strategic planning to align resources to district priorities, and maintaining an effective governance team with her Board. She is highly regarded throughout the state’s educational community for her strong leadership, her commitment to public education and her proven results working with children from diverse backgrounds.

As Superintendent of Rowland Unified, Dr. Ott has led the district through a major transformation effort to improve teaching and learning, supported by a partnership with the Ball Foundation based in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. The collaborative culture that characterizes the educational work in the district is supported by Communities of Practice (COPs) for teachers and administrators and shared learning experiences across the system. In addition, Dr. Ott led the successful passage of a $118 million dollar bond election in 2006.

Maria Ott earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Mount St. Mary’s College and completed her doctoral studies at the University of Southern California, majoring in Educational Policy, Planning and Administration. Prior to her appointment as Superintendent of Little Lake, Maria Ott worked in the Los Angeles Unified School District as a teacher, principal, and central office administrator in the Office of Instruction. Her accomplishments included improving student achievement and national recognition for her leadership in improving educational outcomes and programs for English language learners.

Dr. Ott has earned numerous awards, including: AEOE Outstanding Administrator Award; AMAE Homenaje a la Mujer Recipient; Lamplighter in Education Recognition, Mount St. Mary’s College; Distinguished Educator, California State University, Los Angeles; Educational Leadership Award, Council of Mexican American Administrators; Hispanic Woman of the Year Award, Mexican American Opportunity Foundation; USC Rossier School of Education R.O.S.E. Award; Mount St. Mary’s Distinguished Alumni Award, La Opinion Mujeres Destacadas Award, and the CABE Administrator of the Year Award. She is a member of the Walnut Valley Rotary and serves on the Board of the Los Angeles Education Partnership.