Few surprises came Tuesday evening as Los Gatos Saratoga Joint Union High School District trustees announced their new superintendent and his salary.
Bob Mistele, a seasoned school administrator, was appointed to lead the 3,000-plus student district. He has been leading the district in the interim since July while trustees worked with a search firm to find a permanent leader.
Mistele replaces former superintendent
Mistele's $185,000-a-year job—the same salary earned by Matsuoka—was unanimously approved by the five-member board during a sparsely attended, yet quite festive and positive, meeting at the Los Gatos High School Library.
Michele van Zuiden, president of the district's board of education, explained during the past three months trustees conducted an extensive search process with the help of the firm Leadership Associates that involved more than 80 people giving input on the qualities, skills and temperament of the future leader.
A total of 18 candidates were identified and trustees reviewed each of their resumes, narrowing down the list to five who participated in whole-day interviews to come up with two finalists—Mistele being their top choice.
"Not only did Bob really perform so well during his interim period of time, but also his overall skill set has been in districts that are very similar types of communities that we have here in Los Gatos and Saratoga," van Zuiden said.
"I promise I will do my job to the best of my ability and I will not disappoint you," Mistele said.
He added: "I'm ecstatic. I'm just so happy to be in a position to be working with and supporting the communities of Los Gatos and Saratoga."
He then introduced his family, wife Linda Mistele and daughters Deanna, Jenna and Kayla. The family traveled from Mountain View, their hometown, to Los Gatos for the special announcement.
Mistele has been with the district since 2007 serving as the assistant superintendent of human resources. According to district officials, he has played a key leadership role in navigating the recent budget situation. He oversaw the district's Special Education Department and provided oversight and support to the alternative Nova program.
Mistele has been in the education field for more than 24 years, serving as principal at elementary and secondary schools in the San Luis Obispo area since 1990 and in various curriculum leadership and special education since 1980.
He received a master's of arts degree in education and his administrative credential from California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. His bachelor's degree in education comes from Arizona State University.
According to Jane Marashian, assistant to the superintendent, there will be a community reception 4-6 p.m., Oct. 18, in the Los Gatos High School's community room prior to the trustees' regularly scheduled board meeting. Local government officials, parent group leaders and service group representatives will be invited to attend.
Trustee Cynthia Chang said she was quite pleased with Mistele's selection because "he outperformed all the other candidates, which is a great confirmation of his ability and performance in our school district. I think the board and the district is really moving forward as a great team."
Similarly, trustee Doug Ramezane, a former Los Gatos High School principal, said he confident in Mistele's appointment. "I've known Bob for a while and I've enjoyed working with him. He did a great job. He competed with the best in the state and he came out on top and he's to be congratulated."
Ramezane said Mistele is going to draft an entry-level list "and we'll start talking about that at the next board meeting.
Van Zuiden said she would like Mistele to work on the district's three-year strategic plan, which will include staff, teachers, students, parents and the entire community. "This will really help set the direction for our future," she said.