Rick Schmitt is set to take the helm as superintendent of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District in July after the school board unanimously approved his employment contract Tuesday.
A Castro Valley native who spent the past 17 years as a school administrator in the San Diego area, Schmitt was on hand in Danville to sign his contract along with the board members Tuesday night as part of a district tradition when approving a new superintendent.
"I'm humbled, flattered and absolutely grateful," Schmitt, 58, told the board after endorsing the five-page contract. "And I won't do great things for you; I'll do great things with you."
"This is a homecoming, really," he added. "I have fond memories of this community for many, many years; used to bring my kids here ... visit the parks, go on the Iron Horse Trail with the scooters. I've always loved this community."
Schmitt succeeds four-year superintendent Mary Shelton, who is retiring this summer. He comes to SRVUSD after working the past three years as superintendent of the San Dieguito Union High School District, based in Encinitas in north-coastal San Diego County.
He worked in Livermore earlier in his education career before moving to the San Diego area in 1999, and he spent the past 13 years with the San Dieguito district, serving as a high school principal, associate superintendent of educational services, deputy superintendent and, most recently, superintendent.
"We are blessed, after a nationwide search, to have gotten a very good superintendent," SRVUSD board president Greg Marvel said Tuesday night.
"Very big shoes to fill here; Mary has done a great job for us," Marvel added. "We're very pleased that you're coming to join us, and we deeply appreciate that you've got faith in us. We think you're going to do wonderful things for us."
Schmitt's new contract, which runs for an initial three-year term through June 30, 2019, calls for an annual salary of $309,664 -- almost $29,000 more than Shelton is scheduled to make this year.
The salary difference did not come up during the board's five-minute public discussion and signing ceremony Tuesday night. In a follow-up email, SRVUSD spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich said, "In hiring a superintendent, the board has the authority and discretion to negotiate a mutually agreeable salary within the established range for the superintendent."
Shelton's salary was $240,000 in her first year after taking over as superintendent in July 2012.
Her annual pay had risen to $267,322 coming into the current school year, but she is eligible for a 5.07% retroactive raise for the 2015-16 school year -- the same retroactive pay bump other district employees have received this spring.
Other than the salary difference, Schmitt's contract largely mirrors Shelton's.
Like his predecessor, Schmitt is eligible for health and welfare benefits standard for all district management personnel, he retains the right to reorganize his administrative and supervisory staff as he deems fit, and he will not receive a district car nor an auto stipend -- though he can receive mileage reimbursement.
Schmitt has 225 work days each year, with 26 days of vacation with pay plus holidays as well as 15 days worth of sick leave, as Shelton did. He will not accrue additional vacation time when he reaches 52 unused vacation days.
Other contract similarities include that he can be reimbursed for business expenses incurred in connection with district business and he can ask the district to pay for membership fees and dues for participation in professional organizations.
Schmitt, like Shelton, can also request board approval to undertake consultative work, speaking engagements or other professional opportunities while superintendent as long as the activities don't interfere with his district duties.
He also receives a maximum of $10,000 for properly invoiced moving expenses, as well as a $2,000 travel stipend related to moving and preparing to become the new superintendent. Shelton did not receive the $2,000 travel stipend after being hired in July 2012.
The board is required to evaluate Schmitt's performance by April each year.
Schmitt's contract takes effect July 1, but he said he will start work on July 5 because his final San Dieguito school board meeting is June 30, as well as travel time and the Independence Day holiday.
Shelton's final day in the office will be June 30, but her official retirement date is Sept. 9 because she'll be taking vacation time in the interim, according to Graswich. The board formally accepted her resignation as part of action on a group of personnel changes Tuesday night.
The board is expected to consider granting Shelton the 5.07% raise at its next meeting, increasing her 2015-16 annual salary to $280,875, according to Graswich.
Shelton's administrative cabinet also received the 5.07% retroactive salary increase for 2015-16 in a unanimous vote by the board Tuesday to extend the cabinet members' contracts through June 2018.
"I have one of the best teams that I have ever worked with, certainly, in my 32 years in education, and I think they're one of the best in California. So we are most lucky to have them," Shelton told the board Tuesday. "They're all experts in their field and some of the most professional, dedicated employees you have."
Gary Black, assistant superintendent of facilities and operations, sees his annual salary increase to $226,891. He is the longest tenured member of the upper administration, beginning as the assistant superintendent of business in October 2008 before shifting to his current role when Shelton took the helm in July 2012.
Toni Taylor, assistant superintendent of educational services, and chief business officer Scott Anderson had their 2015-16 salaries retroactively increased to $205,799.
Anderson and Taylor, who each started in their current positions in 2013, are eligible for 5% longevity increases at the start of the new school year, so their annual pay will bump up to $216,089 when July 1 arrives.
The salary for Keith Rogenski, assistant superintendent of human resources, will rise to $205,799, retroactive to his first working day in the district last year, Sept. 28.