SAN JOSE -- Capping a year of uncertainty, a Southern California educator has been named the lone finalist for the job of superintendent of the Santa Clara County Office of Education.

Jon R. Gundry, superintendent of the Pasadena Unified School District, was chosen from among six finalists considered by the County Board of Education.

"We're excited," county board President Leon Beauchman said Wednesday. "We are glad to be in a position where we have a clear idea about the leadership of the organization."

If named as expected on July 16, Gundry will replace Xavier De La Torre, who was eased out by the board in March after the board fielded complaints about his top-down management style. De La Torre now leads a school district in El Paso, Texas.

Gundry, 59, declined to comment on Wednesday.

Gundry's selection comes amid years of recent tumult and change in the Santa Clara County Office of Education. The countywide board of education ousted its past three superintendents -- De La Torre, Charles Weis and Colleen Wilcox.

In San Jose, Gundry will lead an organization of about 1,600 employees that provides training and business services to the county's 31 school districts, and also runs preschools and Head Start, special-education programs, schools for troubled youth and an environmental-education camp.

Gundry has headed the 18,500-student Pasadena school district for three years. He previously served as interim superintendent for a year at the Los Angeles County Office of Education and before then was deputy superintendent from 2008 to 2010.

Beauchman called Gundry a collaborative and thoughtful person. He speaks Spanish. "We think his ability to reach out to ethnically diverse communities is something that's very important," Beauchman said.

The position was posted at $290,000, but Gundry's salary and other terms such as housing still need to be negotiated. His predecessors received low-interest housing loans that weren't due until they left office -- although De La Torre later agreed to make monthly payments of principal and interest.

The county board lost more than $200,000 on the loan to Weis after he walked away from his downtown condo and its underwater mortgage.

Housing will be part of the negotiations, Beauchman said. "The board is aware of the concerns some folks in the community have about that."

The county office's attorney, Maribel Medina, is identifying law firms that would handle the contract negotiations, Beauchman said.

The job posting attracted 250 applicants, Beauchman said, who were narrowed down first to a pool of 60. From those, the board and its search firm chose six finalists. Among those was Mary Anne Dewan, who has been serving as interim superintendent.

Gundry is expected to officially begin work Aug. 1.

Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her on Twitter: @noguchionk12.