BERKELEY -- The school board Wednesday night named Donald Evans as the new superintendent to oversee the district after a tumultuous search that took over a year.
Evans was not at Wednesday night's meeting where board members unanimously approved his $229,500 salary because he was attending his last school board meeting as superintendent of the Hayward school district which he has overseen for the last 18 months.
He begins running Berkeley's 9,000 student district July 1.
"I wouldn't recommend the path that got us here, but everything happens for a reason and we got the strongest candidate," said Berkeley school board President Karen Hemphill. "I'm very excited about him, and I'm confident he'll bring good energy."
Hemphill was referring to the search last year in which the board named a top candidate only to be embarrassed to find out he had publicly opposed same-sex marriage while in a job as a superintendent of the Chino Valley Unified School District in Southern California. That candidate, Edmond Heatley, withdrew his candidacy for the job after parents objected.
As part of his contract, the school district will give Evans a $300,000 no interest loan if he wants to buy a house in Berkeley, Hemphill said. She said he currently lives in Oakland. He'll also get a one-time bonus of $10,000 if stays in the job five years and a second $10,000 one if he stays 10 years.
Evans comes to the job in Berkeley with 26 years' education experience in California including as a teacher, principal and superintendent. His top priorities in Berkeley will be implementing a new statewide common curriculum, closing the academic-success gap between white students and students of color and passing an expiring property tax measure in the neighborhood of $25 million to fund schools in 2016.
While in Hayward, he helped win voter approval of a $2.2 million property tax measure for schools.
"That was an example of what great things a community can do and how important it is for different groups to come together to support the importance of an education," Evans said.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley.