About RCOE | History
Ray W. Johnson, sixth Riverside County Superintendent of Schools
January, 1951 - September 1961
Ray Johnson installed a bureaucratic organization system in the office. He organized it into departments and divisions, instituted rules and procedures, and established the use of forms and record keeping.
During his tenure, the County Board of Education was reorganized by legislative mandate from an appointed professional board to an elected lay board.
In 1949, educational services for the mentally retarded children of California were mandated by the legislature. Since mentally retarded students made up only a small percentage of the total school population, small rural Riverside County districts depended on the county office for these services. Beginning in 1950-1951, teachers were employed by Superintendent Johnson and classroom programs were developed for the mentally retarded. These teachers were among the first who would later become part of the Division of Special Schools and Services.
In 1958, legislation was enacted that authorized county offices to operate juvenile court school programs. After an extensive study, the County Board of Education, in a cooperative effort with the County Probation Department, assumed operation of the juvenile hall schools located in various parts of the county. The county office’s operation of the classes for mentally retarded and juvenile hall programs led in 1960-61 to the establishment of the division of Special Schools and Services.
Johnson resigned in 1961 to become a professor at the University of Hawaii.
Dr. Leonard Grindstaff, who Johnson employed as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, was named superintendent by the County Board of Supervisors to the fill the remainder if his term.