by John Glidden | Oct. 7, 2020
A familiar face is returning to the Vallejo City Unified School District.
On Wednesday, the Vallejo school board officially hired William Spalding as district superintendent – more than 20 years after he was part of the district staff to open Jesse Bethel High School.
“Coming to Vallejo isn’t coming to Vallejo, it’s coming back to Vallejo, it’s coming home,” Spalding said via the virtual meeting. “I couldn’t be more excited.”
Spalding replaces Adam Clark, who left Vallejo after three years to become superintendent with the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in July.
Spalding is currently superintendent with Galt Joint Union High School District, having been named to that position in April 2018. Prior to that, he served as superintendent of the Dos Palos-Oro Loma Joint Unified School District in Merced County.
Many of the school board members expressed optimism about Spalding’s selection.
“We have very high expectations for this individual,” said Trustee Christy Gardner before Spalding’s name was publicly disclosed. “I think that the salary is well warranted based on the expectations we have. We wanted someone who has skill and vision and I believe that we have found that in this particular candidate.”
Prior to announcing Spalding, the board unanimously approved a three-year contract with Spalding. He will earn an annual base salary of $248,000.
Trustee Tony Gross praised the search firm, McPherson and Jacobson LLC, for locating three dozen candidates.
“It shows me, finally, the appreciation people have outside of Vallejo for Vallejo,” Gross said.
Gross said his duty on the board is to find people who will put the district where it needs to be.
“I want more. I want more for our kids. I want more for our community,” he added.
Vice President Tony Ubalde said he was impressed that the board had five strong finalists, out of 36 candidates, to chose from. He also stressed that he wanted someone for the long haul.
“We don’t want Vallejo to be a stepping stone,” Ubalde said. “We want someone who will be with us for a long time.”
Spalding reflected on his time with the Vallejo school district.
“That was one of the great professional experiences of my life; I got to open [the high school] with a very dynamic and visionary team. We took that on in a spirit of innovation and possibilities,” he explained. “Everyday I went to work, I wanted to make sure we were doing right by Mr. Bethel.”
Spalding said Vallejo’s kids are hungry to learn and succeed.
“I feel up to the challenge,” he said. “I know that Vallejo is one of the most diverse, creative, resilient communities you ever find. I believe in the community and I believe in our kids.”
Spalding will begin with the Vallejo on Nov. 2.