San Mateo schools chief ends tenure 

Despite fiscal uncertainties and unresolved contract talks with teachers, San Mateo Union High School District Superintendent Sam Johnson said he was proud of his nearly 40 years in education as he announced his retirement Monday.

While accompanied by families, friends and fellow administrators, Johnson affirmed that the district’s financial outlook is rebounding and that he can look back at his three years at the post with no regrets.

"The time is right now for the next chapter to begin with new energy and vision brought to bear to ensure that the momentum of good to great continues," said Johnson, whose last day is June 29.

Johnson asserted that he wasn’t resigning in the wake of criticisms brought on by a $50 million debt after the district took out loans to make up for revenue shortfalls. And a contractual agreement continues to elude the district and its

teachers. But Johnson reiterated his optimism, stating that it’s likely the district will meet its mandatory 3 percent budgetary reserve.

"When you look at a budget, there are ups and downs," he said. "We happen to be, as a district, in a down cycle."

Johnson, 60, lauded November’s passage of Measure M, a $298 million school construction bond, along with ascending student test scores. He hopes the district will make college a priority for its students.

"This is a remarkable legacy in just a few years as superintendent," said Robert Griffin, president of the district board.

Johnson, a Foster City resident, began his career with the district as a math teacher in 1968. In 1996, he became associate superintendent of human resources and was elevated to superintendent in 2004.

bfoley@examiner.com

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