PITTSBURG -- Longtime San Francisco school district administrator Janet Schulze will be the new superintendent of the Pittsburg Unified School District.
She will leave her position as assistant superintendent of high schools in San Francisco later this month to replace Linda Rondeau, Pittsburg Unified's retiring superintendent, on July 1.
At the Pittsburg board meeting Wednesday night, trustees unanimously approved her appointment, saying they were excited to work with her.
"It was a very long process," trustee Vincent S. Ferrante said. "However, we feel we found a perfect match for Pittsburg schools."
The opening was a surprise for many when Rondeau announced her retirement earlier this year at a school board meeting. She had been in the job for just four years.
"We're looking forward to working with (Schulze)," trustee Laura Canciamilla said, "and we're going to work her hard."
Schulze said she was drawn to Pittsburg Unified for three reasons: the diversity of the students, the manageable size of the district, and the district's reputation as stable in both finances and board members.
"I'm really excited to get to know the community more and really hear from folks at the school sites," Schulze said after the vote.
The district negotiated a two-year contract with Schulze that will pay her a base salary of $190,000 annually.
According to the California Department of Education, Pittsburg Unified's student population is 61 percent Latino, 20 percent African-American and 6 percent Filipino and white, respectively.
The district, while financially stable, is not without its challenges. Students across all grades scored below the county and state averages on proficiency tests in language arts, math, science and history. An overwhelming number of those students, more than 80 percent, receive free or reduced price lunches, and 32 percent are English learners.
Over almost a decade at San Francisco Unified, Schulze has focused on closing the achievement and opportunity gap for minority students. It was her experience in this area and working with a diverse student population that especially impressed the board.
At San Francisco Unified, Schulze was the executive director of Alternative Schools and principal at a local high school before becoming assistant superintendent in 2010.
In 2003, she earned a doctorate from Harvard's Graduate School of Education in the Urban Superintendents Program, a program designed specifically for people interested in working within urban school systems.
Following the vote, Schulze gave a brief speech in English and Spanish thanking the board and community for the support and said she is inspired by the district's mission to ensure students achieve "equity in academic excellence."
"Together we will make our schools the best, because the students of Pittsburg deserve nothing less," Schulze said.