September 9, 2008

New Haven Board Appoints Interim Schools Chief

By Linh Tat

UNION CITY -- New Haven school board trustees have named David Pava, a product of the school district and one of its employees for the past 31 years, as interim superintendent. The board continues to search for a permanent schools chief, a job it hopes to have done by mid-October.

The board's decision came on the heels of Superintendent Pat Jaurequi's unexpected announcement this week that she is leaving the position.

Jaurequi will lead the San Juan Unified School District in Sacramento County as of Sept. 1. Her official last day in New Haven will be Aug. 31.

With about 48,000 students, San Juan Unified is about 3- 1/2 times the size of New Haven. With family in the area and plans to eventually retire in Sacramento, Jaurequi said the move represents a professional and personal opportunity for her.

To fill the void before a new superintendent is hired, Pava -- now the district's second-in-command, who had planned to retire in October when he turns 60 -- agreed to lead New Haven Unified on an interim basis.

With a number of leadership changes, the merger of two middle schools, new offerings through its special education program and other major changes in the district, Pava said his main goal is to ensure that the school year begins smoothly.

He credited Jaurequi with helping the district establish a strategic plan for student achievement during her tenure.

"The groundwork that Pat laid is not going to go undone," he said. "One of her legacies is we are staged and prepared to move forward to make the positive changes."

Pava attended Barnard-White Middle School before it became part of the New Haven school district and later graduated from James Logan High School. He began teaching at New Haven Middle School -- now called Cesar Chavez Middle School -- in 1976, became principal at Barnard-White Middle School in 1988, went on to serve as principal of Logan High in 1992, and was promoted to deputy superintendent in 2001. One of his sons, Anthony Pava, teaches at Logan.

"Next to my family, New Haven has been my life," said Pava, who lives in Newark.

Pava said Thursday he has no plans to apply for the superintendent's position on a permanent basis. However, he said, "I'm happy to serve in this capacity for as long as is needed."

The board has contracted with the California School Boards Association to conduct a superintendent search. Screening interviews tentatively are scheduled for Oct. 16-17, and the board hopes to interview two or three final candidates and make a decision Oct. 18.

Board President Kevin Harper said in a statement that trustees will seek input from district parents and employees.

"This will be an inclusive process," he said.

Reach Linh Tat at 510-353-7010 or [email protected] Read her blog postings at

Originally published by Linh Tat, The Argus.

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