Superintendent Brian McDonald, Ed. D.

  • Superintendent Brian McDonald Brian McDonald, Ed.D., is Superintendent of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). As the chief executive officer of the 17,000-student district that serves the communities of Altadena, Pasadena and Sierra Madre, Dr. McDonald is responsible for the academic and operational management of the district. As Superintendent since 2014, Dr. McDonald brings his expertise as a classroom teacher, school principal and administrator to the leadership of the district.

    Dr. McDonald previously served as Interim Superintendent and before that was the district’s Chief Academic Officer and Deputy Superintendent, where he was responsible for promoting and sustaining exceptional academic achievement that prepares students to be successful in college and the 21st century workplace. He led the district’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiative that connects the renowned science, research and business resources of the greater Pasadena area with the students, teachers and classrooms of PUSD schools. He was also the district’s point person in creating the historic City/School/Community Workplan to align services with the city of Pasadena.

    To create and maintain high-quality instructional teams and programs throughout the district, Dr. McDonald supervises and mentors school principals in the areas of curriculum, strategic planning and professional development. With a focus on closing the gap in achievement between groups of students, Dr. McDonald collaborates extensively with parents, teachers, school principals and community partners to strengthen curriculum and instructional strategies, accelerate improvements and target resources.

    Dr. McDonald joined PUSD as Chief Academic Officer in October 2011 after an extensive career in the Houston Independent School District in Texas. He served in leadership positions in the elementary and secondary levels and held several positions in central administration, most recently as School Improvement Officer.

    Dr. McDonald received the Special Education Excellence Award in 2003 and the 2007 Math Whiz Award from the Houston Independent School District. His professional presentations include Top 10 Ways to Survive the AYP Island at the Texas School Improvement Conference in 2007, and A Comparison of Urban Middle School Mathematics at the American Educational Research Association in 2011.

    Dr. McDonald has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Houston-Downtown, Texas, and a Master’s in Education Administration from Texas Southern University. He earned a certification in principalship from Harvard Graduate School in 2002, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Sam Houston State University in 2010.

    A fluent Spanish speaker, he lives in Pasadena with his family.

    Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald
    Pasadena Unified School District
    351 South Hudson Avenue
    Pasadena, California 91109
    Voice: 626-396-3619
    Fax: 626-795-5309


    Manager, Administrative Services: Diane Orona