San Jose Unified Superintendent Vincent Matthews will become the next state administrator of the financially troubled Inglewood Unified School District. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the appointment on Thursday.
Matthews, 53, who also was the last state administrator to oversee Oakland Unified before the state returned control of the district to Oakland’s school board, will begin his new post on Oct. 19. San Jose Unified, where Matthews has been superintendent for five years, has not yet selected an interim superintendent.
Matthews will be the fourth state administrator for Inglewood Unified in the three years since the Legislature loaned the district $55 million to avoid bankruptcy. He will follow Don Brand, who abruptly resigned in June after approving the district’s first balanced budget since the state took it over in 2012. Though Inglewood, with a high proportion of low-income students and English learners, benefited from an infusion of state money the past two years under the Local Control Funding Formula, its fiscal outlook remains troubled. It has lost a quarter of its students, primarily to charter schools, during the past decade. Inglewood, located near downtown Los Angeles, has 11,000 students in 16 schools.
“There are very few leaders who have led districts under state receivership and Dr. Matthews is one of them,” Torlakson said in a press release. “His experience and passion are the right fit at the right time for the Inglewood school community.”
In San Jose, Matthews initiated Opportunity 21, a strategic plan that introduced a competition within the district for innovative school redesigns. He also negotiated a labor contract that established a landmark teacher evaluation system that gave teachers a role in evaluating their peers.
“He established an openness with the leadership of the district and fostered the idea that everyone should have a voice,” said Jennifer Thomas, president of the San Jose Teachers Association. “His leaving will be a loss.”