Three of our long-standing administrative leaders are retiring from the Benicia Unified School District. Ms. Severson, Principal of Liberty High School and Dr. Gardner, Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources, are retiring. Ms. Gartin, Principal of Joe Henderson, is returning to Arizona, her home state, to finish her career as an elementary school principal. With these changes, and after a thorough search and interview process, BUSD is excited to announce and welcome the following three new administrators.  

First, taking the position of Principal at Joe Henderson Elementary School is Melanie Buck. Ms. Buck earned her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at U.C. Berkeley and has over seventeen years of continuous service in the Vallejo Unified School District as a teacher, TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment), and elementary school principal. Ms. Buck has served on the Vallejo District Communications Committee, District Common Assessment Team, District Science, Language Arts and Social Studies Adoption Committees, and the District Recruitment and Intervention Review Committees. Ms. Buck has years of continuous professional development both as a teacher and a learner. Ms. Buck, her husband, and their daughter live in Benicia, and we enthusiastically welcome her as our new Principal of Joe Henderson Elementary.

Second, taking the position of Principal at Liberty High, our Model Continuation School, is Zachary Pless. Zachary earned his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at UC Berkeley and has over fifteen years of experience in education, including the positions of high school science teacher, coordinator of after-school programs and interventions, Program Supervisor of Extended Learning for the Berkeley Unified School District, Tier II Administration Coach and most recently, Assistant Principal of Martinez Junior High School. Mr. Pless has years of professional training, activities, and awards including AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), District Leadership Training and completion of the Personnel Administrative Academy through ACSA (Association of California School Administrators). Mr. Pless has three children and also lives in Benicia. We enthusiastically welcome Mr. Pless as our new Principal of Liberty High School.

Third, taking the position of Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources is Dr. Khushwinder Gill. Dr. Gill earned her Master’s and Doctoral Degrees in Educational Leadership from the University of the Pacific. Dr. Gill has served in education since 1995 as a teacher, a lead teacher, an adjunct faculty member at two universities, an assistant principal, a principal and most recently, the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Education Services, Student Services, and Instructional Technology for the Lammersville School District. Dr. Gill has presented at numerous workshops including the California Career Pathways Trust Grant Institute, the Women’s Leadership Conferences and on Teacher/Student Relationships. Dr. Gill is fluent in four languages, is a skilled grant writer and is well-versed in 21st Century innovation. Dr. Gill has a husband and two daughters, and we enthusiastically welcome her as our new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources.

ADA Accessible Website Initiative

The Benicia Unified School District is committed to providing accessibility for all. If you experience difficulty with the accessibility of any web pages or documents on our site, please contact us to request this information in an alternative format.


District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from discrimination, harassment, intimidation, bullying against an individual or group based on race, color, ancestry, nationality, national origin, immigration status, ethnic group identification, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or related recovery, parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or genetic information; a perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.
The Title IX coordinator for BUSD is the Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Khushwinder Gill.  She can be reached at 707-747-8300 or by emailing
Website header, Where all students achieve at their highest potential in an engaging, inspiring, and challenging learning environment