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SFUSD taps Vincent Matthews as new superintendent

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Vincent Matthews has been selected as the new superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District. (Photo courtesy of San Jose Unified School District)
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Veteran educator Vincent Matthews has been tapped as the next superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

Matthews, a San Francisco native and graduate of the SFUSD who began his teaching career in the Bayview, has been the state-appointed superintendent of the Inglewood Unified School District since October 2015.

The Board of Education selected Matthews as the finalist for the position after interviewing candidates over the weekend. Matthews was chosen from a pool of 27 potential candidates including Interim Superintendent Myong Leigh.

“We chose someone with a wealth of instructional experience, leadership experience and personal knowledge of SFUSD,” school board President Shamann Walton said in a statement. “We searched for a superintendent that would be dedicated to SFUSD and its students for the long haul.”

Matthews appears to have an extensive career leading school districts in California.

Prior to leading the 13,000-student school district in Inglewood, which has been under state control for financial reasons since 2012, Matthews led the San Jose Unified School District and Oakland Unified School District.

As superintendent of the SFUSD, Matthews will oversee a growing district composed of 143 schools and 56,000 students.

“Having been a student in the district I believe I owe so much to the staff members, educators and caring adults who delivered a high quality rigorous education to me,” Matthews said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the current staff to provide each and every student the quality instruction and equitable support required to thrive in the 21st century.”

Matthews will be charged with handling rising concerns that the housing crisis is pushing educators out of The City, the encroaching need for new schools in neighborhoods like Mission Bay and reforming a student assignment system that has increased school segregation.

But as a veteran of the SFUSD, none of these concerns will likely be new for Matthews.

In 2001, Salon wrote that Matthews, then-Principal of Thomas Edison Charter Academy in the Mission, graduated from San Francisco public schools and started his teaching career at George Washington Carver Elementary in the Bayview.

The article notes that school board member Mark Sanchez was a foe of Edison Charter at the time, but a friend of Matthews.

“I want that corporation out of there, but we want to keep Mr. Matthews,” Sanchez told Salon.

Matthews has a doctoral degree in educational leadership from San Francisco State University, according to his Linkedin page.

Matthews will succeed former Superintendent Richard Carranza, who left the school district last summer for a job in Houston.

It is unclear what is next for Leigh, the interim superintendent.

Leigh previously said he did not want to the permanent role, but doubled back earlier this month and told the Examiner that he applied for the job.

Prior to acting as superintendent, Leigh served as deputy superintendent in charge of the district’s budget.

The Board of Education is expected to vote on Matthews’ contract Tuesday.

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