School board makes employment offer to superintendent candidate

Rick Schmitt expected to join SRVUSD in July, if contract terms solidified

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.

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11 people like this
Posted by San Ramon Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on May 4, 2016 at 6:14 pm

I'm glad the School Board made a decision, but considering all the costs of hiring a new superintendent including consulting agency, moving costs, etc., I hope this one stays longer to pay off all the costs. Because of all his years in education, when is he eligible to retire? Is this one going to be another 4 year term with a free move to an area where he wants to retire?

16 people like this
Posted by Chip K
a resident of San Ramon
on May 5, 2016 at 8:02 am

Why are we not able to promote from within to fill this position when it becomes available? SRVUSD is supposedly one of the top education programs in the country...we don't have any home grown talent that aspire to be Superintendent?
And if no one here at SRVUSD is qualified just yet...don't we have some development programs to get them so?
Seems to me it would be a little demoralizing to the people who have devoted their professional careers to education here to make SRVUSD the best that it can be, to constantly watch outsiders brought in to lead them.

Like this comment
Posted by frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on May 12, 2016 at 7:35 am

Agree with the concept that in-house might have been better!!

Public will often condemn teachers for their salary when public NEVER examines what the costs are at the District Office.
Exorbitant amount of money is spent at the DO and no finger pointed its way for now school scores, not that this district has that kind of concern.

4 people like this
Posted by Watching the Watchers
a resident of San Ramon
on May 12, 2016 at 10:57 am

Good comments! Hiring someone from San Diego? 58 years old? Higher pay for his pension?

His pay, bonus and all will be within the 1/10 of one percent wealthy can be sure. Agree, too much money wasted. No "public servant" is worth that.

This is pension padding and wage inflation for the rest of the school district. Just a scheme and a scam. Another example and proof of the union "good old boy" crony network in action. School district brings this guy in at higher salary, bonus and all - sets the stage for the rest of the district to get higher salary, bonus and all.

No "public servant" will ever get sympathy from me. All "public servants" are the problem with higher taxes, not the solution .

Guaranteed jobs, guaranteed pensions, guaranteed health insurance, vote themselves raises(?)

Like this comment
Posted by Paul
a resident of San Ramon
on Mar 18, 2017 at 6:18 am

Sorry to hear this guy is in your district. This is just a little taste of Schmitt. Web Link

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