The San Ramon Valley Unified School District has a new superintendent, and Sacramento is mourning the loss of a much-loved administrator.
Mary Shelton signed on Wednesday night to succeed Steven Enoch, who retires at the end of the month after a 40-year career in education and four years in the San Ramon Valley.
Until her appointment as SRVUSD superintendent on Wednesday, Shelton was chief accountability officer with the Sacramento City Unified School District.
Shelton said that title has different meanings in different districts, explaining, "What I do is supervise all our schools, K-12, adult education, alternative education, all of our 80 K-12 sites."
That includes assessments and testing, program evaluation, data analysis and technology, according to her job description.
Shelton described the interview process that landed her the head SRVUSD slot as "days of interviews."
"Then they sent one site team down to my district," she added.
That team, according to SRVUSD School Board Member Greg Marvel, found only good news.
"We basically grilled them," Marvel said. "This is the first time in my long career doing this (where) we had people in the district who got teary eyed when they heard we were stealing her."
"She believes passionately in public education," Marvel continued. "What more could you want?"
The search for a new superintendent began when Enoch announced his retirement in March. A consulting firm came up with a list of candidates that was pared down by the district, and Shelton quickly emerged as the district's top choice.
"I was impressed with the board and the commitment to students in this district," she said Wednesday night.
Shelton has been an administrator in the Sacramento district for 11 years, and was a math teacher, then an administrator at Jesuit Catholic High School, also in Sacramento, for the 11 years before that.
She began her educational career teaching college math at Louisiana State University and Millsaps College; before that, she was a programmer for Chevron in New Orleans.
She has two grown children, an attorney and a civil engineer, both of whom live out of the area.
Shelton said she's ready for the next big challenge, moving the district beyond being the best in California.
"I look forward to leading us toward the No. 1 district in the nation," she said.