Stan Scheer, superintendent of the Murrieta Valley Unified School District, will be leaving Murrieta to head up a district in Colorado, it was announced.
Scheer accepted the position of superintendent of the Thompson School District at a special school board meeting held tonight in Loveland, Colo., according to an announcement emailed by Karen Parris, spokesperson for Murrieta Valley Unified.
He had been selected as one of four finalists for the position at an Aug. 22 meeting, according to Thomspon School District's website. The finalists were again interviewed on Aug. 29.
Scheer, 69, has served as superintendent of Murrieta public schools for six years, and said deciding to leave the district was not easy for him.
"I was torn because I love this school district because of the incredible commitment from staff, administration, and our school board to our students and this community," Scheer said, in an email sent to district employees immediately following the unanimous decision by the Thompson school board.
"Our recent news speaks volumes regarding the quality of what goes on daily in our schools because our teaching staff understand teaching is truly an art form that touches the hearts of students as well as meeting the academic requirements.
"You feel it in the climate of the schools and in all the different ways we shine with our extra-curricular activities. This is a very good place for our students because of what all of our staff do, whether it is in the classroom, on the playground, transporting students, operating food services or maintaining the buildings. The students and wonderful families in this district are second to none!"
Prior to coming to Murrieta, Scheer served as superintendent of Littleton Public Schools in Littleton, Colo.
He said his primary reason for accepting this new position in Colorado was to be closer to his family. Scheer explained he and his wife have siblings in cities near Loveland, as well two sons and four grandchildren who live close by. His 93-year-old mother lives nearby in Cheyenne, Wyo.
"I am quite familiar with the Loveland area because of its close proximity to my childhood home," Scheer said.
His last day in Murrieta has yet to be determined, according to Parris. Options for replacing Scheer will be discussed at the school board's regularly scheduled meeting Sept. 13, she said.
Scheer expressed confidence in the board's ability to keep the district on the right track.
"I am confident that with the continued leadership of the current School Board members and the administrative team that is in place, MVUSD will continue to excel and be counted among the highest performing districts in California," Scheer said.
During his tenure that began in July 2006, the district's API has continually improved, going from 805 to 843 in 2011, Parris said.
The district also opened three new schools: Lisa J. Mails Elementary, Dorothy McElhinney Middle School and Murrieta Mesa High School. This was despite a state freeze on construction funding that delayed the construction of Murrieta Mesa, Parris said.
He is also credited with being an effective advocate for public education through his involvement with the city of Murrieta staff and council, Murrieta Police Department, Murrieta Fire Department and numerous local civic organizations, Parris said.
"As a result of his collaboration with the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce, MVUSD was the first district to have a Chamber of Commerce located at one of their school sites," Parris said.
One of the biggest challenges Scheer faced, Parris said, was working with district administrators and the district's employee groups to adjust to the loss of $139 million in revenue to the district since the state budget crisis began in 2007.
"Throughout the state's budget crisis the district has avoided laying off employees, and instead has used reserves and relied on various cost-cutting measures, staffing adjustments and transfers, letting unfilled positions due to retirements and attrition remain open and salary reductions of 9.66% for all employee groups," Parris said.
Scheer attributed much of this to a "stellar leadership team" made up of Deputy Superintendent Pat Kelley and Assistant Superintendents Guy Romero, Stacey Coleman, Bill Olien and Pam Wilson.
"This team coupled with the leadership from the bargaining units, who have been willing to work through some very difficult issues, has allowed our school district to maintain programs and employment in a very difficult financial climate," Scheer said. "The support the district receives from the community speaks to the high value they place on the importance of public education and what goes on in our schools every day."
Scheer expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to work with each of the school board members.
"...Any success I have had has been because of their support and leadership driven by a high level of integrity that is rich with doing what is best for our students and staff. This community is fortunate to have a board made up five people who take the governance of this school district seriously..."
Board member Margi Wray gave her thoughts on Scheer's departure.
"On a personal level I am very happy for Dr. Scheer in that he has been presented this opportunity so near his family," Wray said. "On the other hand, saying goodbye to such an outstanding leader and friend saddens me greatly."
Wray said when Scheer accepted their offer to become superintendent, he promised he would give five years to Murrieta.
"We have been blessed with six amazing years of growth, progress and achievement under his leadership. He has certainly exceeded our greatest expectations. He leaves us stronger and better positioned to face future challenges than we were when he first arrived. I am thankful that he chose to share his talents, time and expertise in the Murrieta Valley Unified School District and I wish him every success and happiness in his future endeavors."