MDUSD selects new superintendent from Vallejo district

MDUSD selects new superintendent from Vallejo
Dr. Adam Clark

Exactly two weeks shy of one year since the announcement of their last appointment, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District today said that Dr. Adam Clark, Vallejo City Unified School District superintendent the past three years, has been selected as the finalist to become the new MDUSD Superintendent.

The 51-year-old Clark will be the third leader of the 29,000-student MDUSD since last spring. The board terminated the contract of Dr. Robert Martinez, who also came from a Solano County district, on May 28. Martinez served in that capacity for only nine months after he was selected following the surprise resignation of Dr. Nellie Meyer, who held the position for six years from 2013.

Board president Brian Lawrence announced Monday on a Zoom call with his fellow board members that they had selected their candidate following interviews that day with superintendent finalists. Dr. Clark was officially revealed today in a press release from the District.

MDUSD ‘the center of everything in the region’

In part, Lawrence was quoted as saying, “It is with great excitement that I share the news that the MDUSD Board has selected a finalist to become our next Superintendent. The Board was thoroughly impressed by Dr. Clark’s dedication to student achievement, building positive relationships throughout the community, fiscal discipline and academic excellence. Dr. Clark embraces working with a diverse student population like the one we have in MDUSD. He is committed to helping every student succeed and making every employee feel valued.”

Clark told The Pioneer that as his educational career evolved in Contra Costa and Solano counties, he always saw MDUSD “as the center of everything” in the region. “The diversity of communities in the district [Clayton, Concord, Bay Point, Pleasant Hill, Martinez and Walnut Creek] made it a place I’ve always had my eye on.”

He says when the opening for the position came up a year ago he “was knee deep in a lot of things in Vallejo” and did not apply. During his tenure at VCUSD he had to chop about $7 million a year from the budget ($20 million overall) and had the “very painful” task of closing and then consolidating six schools. Clark was quick to add that “in no way am I talking about closing schools” in his new district.

July 13 MDUSD Board Meeting

The appointment will be considered at the Monday, July 13, MDUSD Board meeting. The press release says he would start at MDUSD soon after he wraps up his duties in Vallejo. Clark gave Vallejo his 30-days’ notice earlier this week and, with some unused vacation time available, expects to be on board at the district office in Concord later in July.

“I’m anxious to get going and take the stress off board president Lawrence and some key staff who have had extra burdens in the past month,” Clark explained.

The Berkeley High grad got his Bachelor’s in Sociology from San Jose State University in 1991 and his teaching and administrative credentials, Master’s degree and doctorate all from Saint Mary’s College.

He began his education career in 1994 as an elementary teacher in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. He then spent 10 years as an elementary and middle school principal in Brentwood and five years as principal of Miramonte High in Orinda.

His district office administrative career started with four years in East Contra Costa as Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Student Services in the Liberty Union High School District in Brentwood and as Associate Superintendent of Educational Services in the Antioch Unified School District.

Major fiscal challenges ahead

Clark began his tenure in Vallejo in Sept. 2017. Among the accomplishments listed on his LinkedIn profile, Clark says he reduced the budget and improved fiscal solvency utilizing transparency and collaboration. Of course, he takes the helm of MDUSD still without a contract with its teachers going back over 700 days and major fiscal challenges further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic that shutdown the District’s campuses in mid-March.

According to its website, Vallejo City Unified has approximately 11,500 students. Not long ago the District had 22,000 students in 22 schools, but declining enrollment dropped the number of students in half without any school closures before Clark came on board. “I have a great relationship with the board. They are sad about me leaving but understand what a special opportunity this is at Mt. Diablo.”

The new superintendent has been married 24 years to wife Michelle, a second-grade teacher in Brentwood where the Clark family lives. They have two sons and a daughter, all of whom have graduated or in college now.