SRVUSD announces superintendent finalist

San Diego-area leader with Livermore ties tops list, with site visit and contract approval pending

A San Diego County schools superintendent has been selected as the finalist to fill the same position in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District starting this summer.

Rick Schmitt, who leads the San Dieguito Union High School District and has professional ties to Livermore, rose to the top of the school board's list following all-day candidate interviews last week, district officials announced Tuesday.

"The board found Mr. Schmitt to be the best overall candidate in all areas of school district leadership, including curriculum and instruction, budget development, fiscal oversight, facilities improvement, human resources and special education," board president Greg Marvel said in a statement. "He is well-known and respected as a student-centered leader who is highly visible, approachable, accessible and analytical."

The board and other SRVUSD community members will travel to Schmitt's current district -- based in Encinitas -- next week for a site visit, officials said. Pending a positive visit and successful contract negotiations, Schmitt would take over for retiring SRVUSD superintendent Mary Shelton for the start of the 2016-17 school year in July.

Board members anticipate voting to make an employment offer to Schmitt during their regular meeting next Tuesday, district officials said.

Schmitt, 58, said he was "humbled and extremely grateful" to be selected as the finalist for SRVUSD superintendent.

"I believe the timing and conditions in SRVUSD fit perfectly with my commitment to high community visibility and partnerships, strong relationships with staff and parents, managing a complex, rapidly growing district and proven success in continually improving student achievement while keeping the focus on overall student well-being," he said in a statement.

"The climate and demographics in SRVUSD are almost identical to the SDUHSD, an educated community with high expectations, active and informed parents and a strong history of student success," he added. "My wife and I look forward to returning to the Bay Area and to meeting the community."

The school district began the process of searching for a new superintendent more than two months ago after Shelton announced in February she would retire from the SRVUSD on June 30 to cap four years at the helm.

Board members contracted with executive-search firm Leadership Associates to serve as consultants during the process. The firm led the recruitment drive, accepting and reviewing candidate submissions before presenting 12 applications to the board earlier this month.

The board reduced the list to six finalists, whose names remained confidential, and then conducted interviews on Friday and Saturday at the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce offices.

District officials revealed that Schmitt was the leading candidate on Tuesday afternoon.

"Mr. Schmitt is an educational leader who has a passion for helping each student achieve his or her full potential," Marvel said. "He has been the catalyst for educational reforms in San Dieguito that have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of children, whether they are college-bound or interested in immediate career opportunities."

Schmitt has served since 2013 as superintendent of the San Dieguito district in north-coastal San Diego County, including Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Sante Fe, the La Costa community in Carlsbad and the Carmel Valley community in the city of San Diego.

He began his education career teaching history, economics, government, AP economics, AP government and AP U.S. history in a variety of schools.

Schmitt became vice principal at Livermore's Granada High School after earning a master's degree and administrative credential. He was later appointed principal at East Avenue Middle School in Livermore.

He moved to the San Diego area in 1999 to be closer to his aging parents and started work as principal of Coronado High School. He shifted to the San Dieguito district in 2003 as principal of Torrey Pines High School.

Schmitt then transitioned to the district office, working six years as associate superintendent of educational services. He was promoted to deputy superintendent in 2012 and was named superintendent a year later.

He plans to relocate to the San Ramon Valley with his wife, Lyssa, who owns a home-staging business. They have two adult children, a 27-year-old son who works an engineer for Illumina in San Diego and a daughter, 25, who is a project manager for Forefront in New York City.

"I care deeply about each student's personal and academic growth," Schmitt said.

"I will accept and honor the work that has already been done to achieve excellence in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District," he added. "At the same time, I will look to staff and the community to examine where they presently stand in the continued pursuit of that excellence and lead in attaining a future of which the SRVUSD will continue to be proud."

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8 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Danville
on Apr 27, 2016 at 7:06 am

He sounds like a good candidate, but what a waste of money for us taxpayers to pay for " board members and other community leaders" to fly to San Diego for an alleged site visit where he worked. We are paying for these " community leaders" flight, rental car, hotels, food, etc, for a boondoggle to San Diego to see where he worked? He worked in an office, he wasn't principal at a school, what are " these community leaders" going to learn by looking at his office?

Our school district keeps passing parcel taxes and claims they have no money but has no problem wasting our tax dollars on boondoggles for the school board and" community leaders", which I assume are teacher union leaders who are going enjoy a nice vacation to San Diego at our expense.

About some transparency from our schools, tell us names of everyone going, why it is necessary they go, and exactly what we are paying for and how much it is costing us!

5 people like this
Posted by Stella
a resident of Danville
on Apr 27, 2016 at 10:45 am

TAXPAYER, I couldn't agree more with your comment. If schools go on "field trips" parents foot the bill, not the district. What a joke.

5 people like this
Posted by Julie
a resident of San Ramon
on Apr 27, 2016 at 10:58 am

I suspect he organizes the whole visit, including who the board members will speak to. He might be fine, but this "trip" is not a good use of money. Speaking of money, it will be interesting to see what his pay will be. It seems like each time a new superintendent arrives he or she gets a huge bump from what the previous one was being paid.

4 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Danville
on Apr 27, 2016 at 12:33 pm

Board Member Greg Marvel: Please give us the names of all the "community leaders" and board members flying to San Diego; the title or involvement the person has with the district; the reason it is necessary for each of these people to fly to San Diego; What you think you are going to learn by having a site inspection rather than interviewing and talking over the phone or skyping with people he worked with; A breakdown of the costs to us taxpayers for this boondoggle, including air fare, rental cars, hotels, food, per diem, etc. You seem very generous with our taxpayers money and perhaps out of the loop at how actual businesses hire and vet people, while keeping expenses down.

Also, how much of our taxpayers money did you spend in hiring this "Executive Recruiter" to obtain resumes and c.v.'s and narrow the list of applicants, and how come the school board could not do this themselves, isn't that your job? You seem to have no problem in asking parents to continuously fund more and more parcel taxes, and no problem in asking teachers to do more with less, but yet you waste our money on boondoggle trips to San Diego, hiring Executive Recruiters, and God knows what else. It is time for the board to practice what they preach.

6 people like this
Posted by Stella
a resident of Danville
on Apr 27, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Right on, TAXPAYER!
Mr. Marvel, we are waiting.

9 people like this
Posted by teacher
a resident of Danville
on Apr 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Yes, sending a team to his district seems excessive, I certainly agree. Maybe a team of two or three is a better choice, I could live with that. There are a lot of dollars spent on really good things in this district. There are also a lot of dollars spent on things that are not necessary too.

The most alarming thing is the spike in teacher vacancies in SRVUSD. This used to be a district that was desired. But an alarming increase in the negative way teachers are treated, viewed, and bullied without any support other than the union, by the parent community, has left this district undesirable. This, compounded with fewer college graduates going into the teaching profession in general, make for a future mess.

I was proud to be a teacher when I started 30 years ago. Now, I walk in, head down, do my job, and get out.

The SRVUSD parents are probably the most mean spirited, egotistical, narcissistic, anti-education, adults on the planet.

I really hope our new superintendent is up for this challenge. AND, the sooner we stop electing Marvel, the better. One less bully and anti-teacher that we have to deal with.

That's my two cents.

4 people like this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Apr 29, 2016 at 12:03 pm

I would also like to see what the estimated expenses are for this "site visit" trip to Encinitas, and the list of attendees. I would also like to see what the schedule and/or agenda is for the trip - who will be talked to, what sites will be visited, etc. Because it seems to be nothing more than a boondoggle.

What information will be obtained, that couldn't be just as easily obtained over the phone, or even video conference? What objectives of the visit require multiple people to visit his current district (versus sending one person, at most)?

This never happens in the private sector, since, for one thing, the current employer of a person wouldn't want to be aiding the departure of their own employee (unless that employee was no good to begin with). Why would Schmitt's former/current district want to aid him in leaving?

Further, what difference will a viewing of his current district's facilities make? If the main objective is to basically "check references", do that by phone, or video conference. And IF it is really necessary to examine the facilities, or possibly even sit in on some of Schmitt's meetings, send one person down there, and have that person report back.

2 people like this
Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2016 at 10:34 am

Scott Hale is a registered user.

What would be interesting to know are there any deal breakers to hiring this dude based on the site visit alone? IMHO, they have made a decision already.....and this is quite a waste.

Like this comment
Posted by Online Editor
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2016 at 12:37 pm

Online Editor is a registered user.

Thank you for your feedback and questions. We received additional context from SRVUSD spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich about the superintendent candidate site visit. Those details were included in our latest story about the superintendent hiring process: Web Link.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School

on Feb 28, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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