Lodi Unified School District trustees didn't have to look far to find their second top administrator.
Trustees named Rich Ferrara, Lodi Unified's assistant superintendent of personnel, to the associate superintendent position Tuesday.
The position has been vacant for several months following Charles Matus' resignation to take a similar job with San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento.
Ferrara, 56, has been a familiar face in the district. He has worked for 28 years in Lodi Unified as a teacher, principal and district administrator.
"It has gone by pretty fast," he reflected Wednesday.
Ferrara will now head up curriculum and special education in his new role as the district's associate superintendent.
District officials are currently working out details of a contract with Ferrara. Both the superintendent and associate superintendent are contracted positions, officials said. The contract is expected to be approved by trustees in October.
The position's salary is expected to range between $110,000 and $115,000, said Len Casanega, director of certificated personnel. Matus earned $99,046 as associate superintendent.
Long careers in a single district are a rare find among administrators, who often shuffle between several districts, LUSD officials said.
"It's pretty unusual, especially now," Casanega said.
Ferrara said the district has afforded him many job opportunities.
"I've always enjoyed working here in the district," he said.
Ferrara began as a math and special program teacher at Lodi Middle School in 1973. He previously taught in Yuba City for two years.
He has worked as vice principal at Woodbridge and Needham middle schools; principal at Houston School and Lodi and Delta Sierra middle schools; and assistant superintendent of secondary education.
Ferrara sought out the new position because it was a good career move.
"I've enjoyed what I've been doing in personnel, but the opportunity came along," he said.
Before teaching, Ferrara spent four years in the U.S. Air Force as a heavy equipment operator.
Ferrara moved to Sacramento from Quakertown, Pa., where he was born and raised, to work at Mather Air Force Base.
Following his military service, he attended California State University, Sacramento. He graduated from the college with a bachelor's degree in biological science and a master's degree in education.
Ferrara later earned his doctorate in education from University of San Francisco in 1993.
The Sacramento resident was one of three candidates interviewed by a panel of parents, community members, teachers and other district employees. Ferrara had a second interview with Superintendent Bill Huyett and a trustee.
"He's one of our more loyal administrators in the district," said trustee Richard Dean.
But that's not the reason he was hired, he said. Ferrara competed for the spot, and, in the end, was the best candidate for the job.
"I'm glad we were able to hold on to Rich," he said.
Ferrara has been married for 31 years to his wife, Christine. The couple have two daughters - Jennifer, 28, a teacher in Elk Grove Unified School District; and Susan, 26, a Columbia University student who is studying to become a nurse practitioner.
Also approved by trustees Tuesday were two other promotions. Those appointments included Erik Sandstrom, an assistant principal at Tokay High School, to Tokay's vice principal; and Stephen Takemoto, a Lodi High School assistant principal, to Lodi's vice principal.
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