Oak View School trustees have hired Beverly Boone as its new principal-superintendent to replace Michael Scully, who resigned in January after two years on the job.
Boone received a two-year contract and will earn $100,000 a year with no benefits.
Scully, who came to Oak View after working as vice principal of Galt High School, will take over as principal and superintendent of another school district, which he declined to name. He starts there July 1.
Oak View's hybrid position of superintendent and principal cuts some of the bureaucracy inherent in larger school districts, said Bill Chiechi, who held the position for 28 years before retiring.
Chiechi hired Boone for a teaching position at the school in 1986. Boone later left to become principal at West Point Elementary School in Calaveras County, where she has worked for two years.
Boone's hiring marks a return to the district's past pattern of hiring from within, often from candidates with limited administrative experience, said Stan Seifert, Oak View school board president.
Choosing a candidate quickly was a process that worked for a small district like Oak View, Seifert said. The board wanted someone who understood what it was like to work at a small school and was able to take a hands-on leadership role without the higher levels of administrative support staff found in larger districts.
Still, some parents and staff felt like they should have had input in the process, Scully said, and Boone would have to address that criticism when she takes over.
"Trust is a big thing in a small district, and you kind of have to earn that," Scully said. "You don't automatically walk on the job with that."
When Chiechi retired, the board contracted with California School Board Association for Executive Search, which conducted a public search and solicited input from a range of constituencies within the school. They hired Scully after spending thousands of dollars on the search process, Seifert said.
Chiechi came to Oak View in a similar process to Boone's hiring, as a former teacher returning to lead. He described himself as being young and inexperienced, but the school board let him learn the position in return for long-term stability.
Boone has been working four days a week at her current position, with Wednesdays free to visit Oak View to work on transition activities. Chiechi has helped by writing up tips for Boone on issues he once struggled with.
Understanding the state's budgeting process was among the hardest at first, he said.
"It's a very complex system," Chiechi said, "and it's gotten even more so in the last 25 years."
Combining the superintendent and principal's responsibilities into one position and working in such a small district creates distinct challenges, Chiechi said.
As superintendent, he was responsible for negotiating on behalf of the district with the teachers' union. But as principal, he was supposed to lead and motivate the faculty. The overlap was "a blessing and a curse," Chiechi said.
The system works for Oak View, Seifert said.
"We're kind of unique," Seifert said. "There's not many of us left."