Dr. Henry S. Bangser


(805) 640-4300 ext. 1012

E-Mail Hank Bangser at






Message from the Superintendent

November 14, 2016 

Dear Ojai Unified School District Students, Parents, Staff and Community Members, 

In the past five days, I have heard from superintendent colleagues across the nation about challenges they have faced in their districts as staff members talked with children of all races, ethnicities, religions and gender identities following the November 8th election. This morning, I met with our school principals, assistant superintendent, and two school board members to discuss this issue. As educators, we have a responsibility to help our students and potentially their families understand and process some statements that were made during the campaign. 

I cannot capture in words here how proud I am to summarize the clear theme that emerged from the conversation this morning. It was undeniable that our district’s emphasis on respectful relationships has created a culture which ensures a safe physical, emotional, and social environment, as free from bullying behaviors as possible. This has been accomplished by the hard work in our schools of our staff members, particularly over the past four years. Thus, when challenging times arise, we have the ability to call upon expectations in our schools that have already been built into our daily lives. As we went around the table today, we did hear about a few inappropriate comments from students last Wednesday and Thursday. However, in each case, the adult who intervened used the event as an opportunity to educate the speaker and the student receiving the comment. The principal was there for additional support. 

 As we adults know from our own educational experiences, the best schools are those which offer far more than fine academics and extracurricular activities. Great schools are those where students observe and practice the principles inherent in what it means to be good citizens among children from other backgrounds. In the past seven years as your superintendent, I have learned that the overwhelming majority of citizens in the Ojai Valley embody those ideals. In these difficult days for some of our district’s families, it is especially important that we remember who we are and what we have practiced and demanded of ourselves in our schools. 


Hank Bangser 

August 22, 2016

To the Ojai Unified School District Community: 

Throughout my years as your superintendent, I have placed a high priority on communicating the same important information internally to our staff members and externally to our community. To that end, I am sharing with you below the e-mail I sent to our faculty, classified staff and administrators today, welcoming them -- and now you -- to the 2016-17 school year. Most importantly, I expect that our students and their parents feel the same sense of excitement that our professional staff members embrace as a new school year is about to unfold.

Hank Bangser


Writing this e-mail is indeed difficult, for it is my last opening-of-the-school-year communication as your superintendent. I will begin by paraphrasing the comments I shared with you and the Ojai Valley News last June when I announced that I will be retiring from OUSD in the summer of 2017.

I have truly cherished the past seven years here, even with the exceptionally challenging financial situation we have faced together. Without your personal and professional commitment and sacrifices, there is no way the children of this District would have experienced the exciting and positive academic, school climate, and co-curricular life I witness every day. I am so proud to have been a part of this process.

The summer months brought the early implementation of Measure J, with the following projects completed, among several others:
- significant tree trimming and painting the full exterior of the buildings at Matilija,
- exterior painting of several buildings at Nordhoff,
- flooring removal and new carpeting installed in several classrooms at Nordhoff,
- functional skills (special education) classroom remodeled at Nordhoff.

The three major roofing projects that were initially planned for Nordhoff and Matilija this summer required additional analysis and are on the list for completion next summer, in addition to a host of operational infrastructure improvements across all of the schools.

After the Board of Education makes its decision regarding the future organization of the elementary schools at the October 17, 2016 Board Meeting, we will create a painting schedule for the elementary schools that will include work during the breaks of one and two-weeks this school year and all of next summer.

As for our academic program and staffing, after Labor Day I will send you a report on our 2016-17 District and schools’ enrollments and class sizes compared with last year. I am optimistic that we have generally continued the trend in the past few years of decreasing class sizes in many, though not all, areas of the District. In that period, because we have maintained essentially all teaching positions, the predominantly decreasing school enrollments have yielded a large number of lower class sizes. For the classified staff, Andy Cantwell and Barbi Rice will prepare a summary of the comparison of last year’s positions and those of this year. I will distribute that information when the class size report is completed.

Finally, Andy and I look forward to resuming discussions with the OFT and CSEA leadership regarding compensation settlements for 2016-17. As always, we have shared all budgetary information with your negotiations representatives so that our meetings concerning your contracts are professional, respectful and meaningful.

Have a wonderful school year.









About Dr. Bangser Minimize

About The Superintendent...

Henry S. Bangser

Dr. Bangser began his Ojai superintendency on August 17, 2009. He spent the first eight years (1971-1979) of his career as a teacher (U.S. History, political science, and constitutional law), student council advisor, athletic coach (assistant varsity football), and assistant principal at New Trier East High School in Winnetka, IL. From 1979-1983 he served as the Principal of Lake Forest (IL) East High School.

He completed the first of his four superintendencies in Pelham, NY from 1983-1987. Dr. Bangser was then appointed in 1987 as the superintendent of the St. Charles (IL) Community Unit School District, approximately 50 miles west of Chicago. In 1990, he returned to New Trier and served as its superintendent for 16 years until he retired from that role in 2006.

Before coming to Ojai, Hank was the Chief Executive Officer of Hazard, Young, Attea, and Associates, the nation’s largest executive search firm predominately serving school boards. He accepted the role with the understanding that he would seek to return to the superintendency in no more than four years.

Hank grew up in a small town in suburban New York City, graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1970 and received his master’s degree and doctorate from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in 1971 and 1977, respectively. He and his wife Sara, a former Director of Major Gifts in the Development Department at Northwestern, have three children: Jill, a community development consultant, who lives in Chevy Chase, MD with her husband Marc and daughters Margo, Elyse and Penelope; Marc, a family law and litigation attorney, who lives with his wife Gina and son Jackson in suburban Chicago; and Matt, Partner and Director of the Blum & Poe Gallery in Los Angeles and New York City, who lives in New Canaan, CT with his wife Abby.