BYRON -- Debbie Burnette has hit the ground running.

Just days after being hired as Byron Union's new superintendent, Burnette, 61, was on the job July 1 -- already interviewing candidates for an empty elementary principal position.

Burnette, a longtime Northern California educator and Knightsen resident, was chosen from 22 candidates.

"Her experience and credentials are exactly what we need in Byron," Board President Jeffrey Sugimoto said.

Burnette replaces Ken Jacopetti, who resigned in April after three years in Byron to become superintendent in Vacaville.

As an assistant superintendent and director of special education in the Millbrae School District, Burnette's background in special education, educational law and common core curriculum resonated with a panel of community stakeholders, trustees said.

"She listens on issues and takes group input before making decision, and doesn't just not just looking at things administratively," Sugimoto said.

Adds trustee Mark McBride: "She fit what we were looking for to an absolute T. She's very even-keeled. Plus, with her strong background in common core, she will be able to bring us in line with new state standards going forward."

Julie Clarke, president of Byron's teacher union, also said she's been impressed with Burnette.

"She has a really warm personality and is focused on staff development and helping teachers. I'm looking forward to working with her and I'm excited about the direction we can go," said Clarke, a fifth-grade teacher at Discovery Bay Elementary.

Before Millbrae, Burnette was a vice principal in Antioch and assistant superintendent in the Lammersville Unified School District in Tracy and Mountain House.

Burnette's three-year contract, effective July 1, includes a base salary of $150,000, along with a $250 per month car allowance.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

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