DANVILLE -- The new superintendent of San Ramon Valley schools signed her employment contract in front of the school board Wednesday night after being unanimously approved to replace outgoing Superintendent Steven Enoch.
Mary Shelton, 60, a school administrator in Sacramento, said she is excited to lead San Ramon Valley schools toward becoming "the No. 1 district in the nation."
She starts out at a salary of $240,000 a year, the same as Enoch's base pay this year. She is also authorized a stipend for moving expenses up to $10,000.
Enoch, who has been superintendent of the San Ramon Valley district since 2008, retires June 30 after a 40-year career in education.
Shelton's official first day on the job is July 1. Her contract ends June 30, 2015, unless otherwise terminated or extended.
The board selected her from a pool of 21 candidates after a two-month search.
"Ms. Shelton brings to this district a wealth of experience," school board President Greg Marvel said. "She's a transformational leader. She believes passionately in the quality of public education and passionately in the belief that every child, regardless of background, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, regardless of what they bring when they walk through the doors of that school -- that they're going to receive the best quality education possible."
Shelton spent 11 years as a math teacher and an assistant principal at Jesuit Catholic High School in Sacramento. She then served as the principal at John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento from 2001 to 2006. From there, she went on to become an administrator in the Sacramento City Unified School District and is now the chief accountability officer responsible for supervising school sites.
Before moving to California, she spent four years teaching math at Louisiana State University in Shreveport and at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss. Before that, she worked as a computer programmer for Chevron in New Orleans.
Shelton will be moving from a large urban district where 69 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches to a high-performing suburban district that has the highest Academic Performance Index scores in California for a district with more than 9,000 students.
Marvel said the district is facing difficult decisions in the next couple of years as the state continues to take money from school budgets.
"In this district so far since the recession started, we've lost $80 million in general fund revenue from the state of California," he said. "I commend anybody who wants to step up to the plate to be a superintendent in a district in these incredibly trying times."
Shelton said her first duty on the job will be to meet and listen to parents, teachers and district staff. "I don't believe in fixing anything that isn't broken," she said.
"It's a good change," she said of moving to the San Ramon Valley. "I think it's going to be an exciting change."
Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/jason_sweeney.