County Office of Education Names Interim Superintendent

A month after Superintendent Xavier De La Torre announced his resignation on less-than-ideal terms, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) has named his temporary successor.

Mary Ann Dewan will serve as interim head of the county schools agency starting today. Dewan was hired as chief schools officer for the SCCOE in October, a cabinet-level position in which she managed student services and alternative education.

Before working for the county, she was executive director of the Central Indiana Educational Service Center, an agency that served 22 public school districts. She also previously worked as assistant superintendent of special education, a principal and teach in Indianapolis and as a professor at Marian, Butler and Indiana universities.

“The board will now turn its attention to filling the position permanently with the goal of having a new superintendent in place by July 1,” Board President Leon Beauchman said.

De La Torre’s tenure in the county had long stood on shaky ground. Things quickly deteriorated after his hire in February 2012, leading to some dustups with staff and a poor performance review last year that left him on the brink of being fired.

Scandal trailed the superintendent even before he arrived in California. The El Paso school district he oversaw got caught up in an investigation into whether administrators were fudging the numbers on standardized test scores. District officials were eventually cleared.

De La Torre has 18 months to pay back a $960,000 housing loan the county helped him secure.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

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