The Santa Clara County Board of Education officially hired its new superintendent, Jon Gundry from Southern California, who will begin work Aug. 1.

He will earn a base salary of $295,000. Departing from its practice with previous chiefs, the county board will not provide a housing loan to Gundry, who is superintendent of the Pasadena Unified School District. But the board will pay him $30,000 for relocation.

Annually, with a satisfactory evaluation, Gundry, 59, will get an automatic cost-of-living raise and an additional $20,000 toward retirement. His contract extends through June 2018. Besides his salary, Gundry will get $15,000 yearly for auto and cellphone expenses, 25 days of vacation and the possibility of doing outside consulting work.

He was selected from about 250 applicants for the job. The board of education interviewed six finalists. Gundry called working at a county office of education, which provides services and oversight for school districts, complex and interesting. He said he hopes to restore the reputation of the Santa Clara County Office of Education, which has been beset by turmoil for a while.

"I want the office to become known as the first stop for quality services for school districts and the county," he said.

Gundry began his career in Houston, teaching Spanish and then teaching English learners, both at secondary schools. He became an administrator and later was deputy superintendent at the Los Angeles County Office of Education.


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The Santa Clara County school board eased out former Superintendent Xavier De La Torre in March. Two years earlier, it would not extend the contract of then-Superintendent Charles Weis. Before that, it showed chief Colleen Wilcox the door.

County school board President Leon Beauchman did not return a request for comment. In a prepared statement, he wrote about Gundry, "we are confident that he will provide the SCCOE and its staff with the vision and leadership necessary to guide the organization's advocacy, ensure efficacy and continue to provide students, schools and districts with the best continuum of services possible."

Since De La Torre's exit in the spring, the education office has been led by Mary Ann Dewan, who now will resume her post as chief schools officer. The county board of education drew heated criticism last year after Weis walked away from an underwater mortgage on a luxury downtown San Jose condominium. The board had extended Weis a nearly $1 million home loan, half at zero interest, and had not required any monthly payments on the mortgage.

After unsuccessfully suing Weis, the board assumed ownership of the condominium and sold it at a loss in June, costing taxpayers about $222,200 in all.

De La Torre also received a similar housing loan for a Cambrian neighborhood home. He sold it after moving to El Paso, Texas, and repaid the county office of education in the spring.

Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her at Twitter.com/noguchionk12.