The San Ramon Valley school board voted Tuesday to offer San Diego County school administrator Rick Schmitt the job as the district's next superintendent, pending successful contract negotiations.
The unanimous decision came after a positive visit by board members and local employee union representatives to Schmitt's current district Monday and the board's final closed-session deliberations Tuesday night in Danville.
San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) officials announced last week that Schmitt was the leading candidate at the end of the two-month-plus recruitment search for a successor to retiring superintendent Mary Shelton.
Schmitt, 58, is set to take over as SRVUSD superintendent July 1 -- provided both sides agree to contract terms. A proposed employment agreement is expected to be presented to the school board for approval May 24, according to district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich.
Currently superintendent of the San Dieguito Union High School District in north-coastal San Diego County, Schmitt has experience as a social studies teacher, school site principal and district-level administrator -- including years as a vice principal and principal in Livermore.
In a statement last week after Schmitt was named the finalist, board president Greg Marvel praised the San Diego-area superintendent for being "well-known and respected as a student-centered leader who is highly visible, approachable, accessible and analytical."
"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," Marvel added.
As part of their vetting process, SRVUSD board members Marvel, Mark Jewett, Ken Mintz and Rachel Hurd spent about five hours in Schmitt's district based in Encinitas during a day-trip on Monday, according to Graswich.
The SRVUSD's assistant superintendent of education services, Toni Taylor, also participated in the site visit along with district employee union officials Ann Katzburg (president, San Ramon Valley Education Association), Tami Castelluccio (president, local Classified School Employees Association chapter) and Rahman Opeyany (vice president, local Service Employees International Union chapter).
The site visit, for which SRVUSD paid for flights and a van rental, is common practice for districts when hiring a new superintendent, Graswich said.
"The visit offers an opportunity for the team to experience the candidate's current district and chat with staff who he works with on a daily basis. Through the visit, the team often gains a better sense of the leadership and accomplishments of the candidate," she added.
Schmitt has worked in the San Dieguito district since 2003, serving as a high school principal, associate superintendent of educational services, deputy superintendent and, most recently, as superintendent since 2013.
"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 last week after being named the finalist.
Schmitt, who plans to relocate to the San Ramon Valley with his wife, didn't attend the SRVUSD board meeting Tuesday, but he is expected to be at the May 24 meeting to sign the board-approved contract in person, Graswich said.