SAN JOSE -- The Luther Burbank School District has named Michelle Richardson as its next superintendent.

Richardson has been assistant superintendent for business and operations at Travis Unified School District in Fairfield for the past year. She will begin her new job Aug. 1, and will be paid $143,750 plus a $3,000 annual auto allowance. She will not receive a relocation or housing loan. Her contract is for two years.

"I'm excited to be able to work for a small school district," Richardson said. "This gives me the opportunity to work with teachers, the principal and kids." Burbank has one K-8 school, with about 575 students.

Until last year Richardson, 46, worked as assistant superintendent at the Val Verde Unified School District in the Moreno Valley, southeast of Riverside. She also worked as an administrator in the Palo Verde Unified School District in Blythe, also in Riverside County. She began her career as a teacher in the San Diego Unified School District.

Richardson replaces Richard Rodriguez, who has been serving as Luther Burbank's interim superintendent since April 30, when then-Superintendent Jan Kaay resigned suddenly. The district awarded her one year's salary with an agreement that neither she nor Burbank board members would speak badly about each other.

In just over six years, Luther Burbank has ousted three superintendents and has paid all of them beyond their tenure.

The board chose Richardson from among 16 candidates, Rodriguez said.

Board President Lorraine Garza did not respond to a request for comment about the new superintendent.

In an email, Rodriguez wrote about the trustees' appointment, "Obviously they chose her because she was the most qualified and best match for LBSD."

District teachers union President Fadi Saba welcomed the naming of a new superintendent. "The district has spent $1 million on superintendents no longer working for us. We don't want that again," he said. "We'd rather spend the money in the classroom."