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New MDUSD superintendent Clark signs contract and is on the job

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 said that Dr. Adam Clark, Vallejo City Unified School District superintendent the past three years, was selected as the finalist to become the new MDUSD Superintendent.

And this Monday the 51-year-old Clark was formally approved as the third leader of the 29,000-student MDUSD since last spring. The district 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.

Clark’s three-year contract pays him $300,000 annually ($298,000 salary and $2000 advanced doctoral degree stipend). His salary is 7.6% more than his predecessor’s. Most the contract terms and conditions are identical including a $300 monthly reimbursement for automobile mileage.

Board president Brian Lawrence announced on a June 29 Zoom call with his fellow board members that they had selected their candidate following interviews that day with superintendent finalists. Dr. Clark’s appointment was officially revealed two days later in a press release from the District.

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 always eyed MDUSD

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.

Clark’s contract commences this coming Monday, but he indicated on the Zoom board meeting he was ready to get going this week as the district must make final plans for the opening of schools Aug. 13 with distance learning the only viable format based on the increased cases of COVID-19 around the area, state and nation in recent weeks.

Career begins in Contra Costa

He began his education career in 1994 as an elementary teacher in 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 at Miramonte High in Orinda.

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

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.

Vallejo City Unified 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.

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.