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Thursday, December 30, 2010
Orange Unified's Deputy Superintendent Michael Christensen named Greater Orange Person of the Year
Michael Christensen named 2010 GOPY winner
Orange Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Michael Christensen has been named the recipient of the 2010 GOPY Award- the Greater Orange Person of the Year award. Christensen is the second person to be named the annual award from the Orange Communication System, the communications arm of the watchdog group the Greater Orange Community Organization. The Orange Communication System is the producer of original local central Orange County news services that include Orange Net News (ONN) and the Greater Orange News Service and is affiliated with national citizen news organizations.
In a December 30th press release, the Greater Orange Community Organization announced that the Orange Communication System awarded 2010 GOPY Award based on the award’s criteria of ”the person who’s actions most influenced the Greater Orange Community” during the year.
Christensen, who has held numerous titles in OUSD including Executive Director of facilities and Planning and Executive Director of Administrative Services, was named in April 2010 the first ever OUSD Deputy Superintendent in a re-organization that was initiated after massive cuts brought about by the on-going California State Budget crisis. Christensen had become a regular fixture at the OUSD Board meetings keeping the Board and community up-to-date on the latest state budget news-or no news- and its implications for the local schools and employees. In addition, this year he was responsible for dealing with the remodel of the 1950’s era Yorba Middle School and the numerous delays and problems caused by the current budget crisis on the contactors. During the budget crisis, Christensen has also overseen the closure of two of OUSD’s smallest schools, Silverado and Riverdale elementary schools, including successfully arguing before the Orange County Committee on School District Organization that Silverado community should remain part of OUSD. He was instrumental in implementing OUSD Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier’s budget priorities including successfully implementing a merging of the three employee groups into one health care plan. Christensen also served on the Board of Directors of the California Association of School Business Officials,
Christensen has lhelped lead OUSD through one of the most difficult budget periods in its history. Additionally, in his many years with OUSD he has had numerous duties including: negotiating with the Irvine to mitigate impacts of the proposed (and now delayed) East Orange and Mountain Park projects: implementing the integration of year-round school schools to the traditional calendar; collecting and reporting on developer fees; school boundaries and Trustee Area boundaries; future enrollment projections; applying and implementing state modernization funding, the planning and remodeling of five OUSD schools-without a bond; implemented OUSD’s widely recognized energy saving program; and representing OUSD to numerous state, county and local boards, offices and agencies. As Deputy Superintendent, Christensen has publicly acknowledged the demographic differences and challenges OUSD faces by geographical regions by uttering the long OUSD administrative taboo words “55 divide”.
The Greater Orange Communication Organization’s announcement of the GOPY Award described Michael Christensen’s as “an irreplaceable asset to the Greater Orange Communities who’s many years of service to the local community has included numerous contributions while staying true to his long stated philosophy of providing the best possible learning environment with the least amount of impact to the general fund. In 2010, by continuing to work to keep our schools fiscally solvent during the current unprecedented fiscal crisis, Deputy Superintendent Michael Christensen has clearly been the person who had the most influence on the Greater Orange Community in 2010”.