Incoming Santa Barbara School Unified District Superintendent Hilda Maldonado speaks to the board Tuesday as her son zoom bombs his mom.
Hilda Maldonado, associate superintendent of leadership and partnerships at Los Angeles Unified School District, is the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s new superintendent. She appeared at Tuesday’s board meeting via Zoom and her son made a guest appearance. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

Hilda Maldonado, the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s new superintendent, said she is ready to lead with an “equity and excellence lens.”

The Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education voted 5-0 to select Maldonado to replace Cary Matsuoka at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Maldonado is currently the associate superintendent of leadership and partnerships at Los Angeles Unified School District.

“The promise of equality public education will not go unfulfilled in Santa Barbara Unified,” Maldonado said. “Public education delivers more than academics. It changes lives. It improves society. It creates opportunties for students to thrive and in some cases, like mine, it provides a way out of poverty.”

Maldonado will begin her new post July 1. Matsuoka announced late last year that he was leaving the district in June. 

Maldonado will earn $250,000 annually, plus benefits. Matsuoka makes $280,000 annually, plus benefits.

“We are truly living in extraordinary times and all across the country,” Maldonado said at Tuesday’s meeting. “The loss of jobs, food insecurity, and the digital divide will have lasting impacts on education for our students.”

Maldonado has also served as senior executive director of Diversity, Learning, and Instructionl executive director of the Multilingual and Multicultural Education Department; and director of Schools. She has worked as a bilingual teacher, a bilingual coordinator, assistant principal and principal. She came to the U.S. from Mexico as an 11-year-old and credits her positive experience as an English learner as her motivation to become a bilingual teacher, according to a news release. 

School Board OKs $90K on Professional Development

The board voted unanimously to approve a $90,000 contract with LINC (Learning Innovation Catalyst) an organization that helps K-12 schools with professional development. 

“We really want to provide support and training for our teachers,” Superintendent Matsuoka said. 

Matsuoka said it is likely that when the school year begins in August that classes with take place both at school and in the home.

“Our teachers are going to go into their summer and we need to communicate what is the framework of our plan for next year,” Matsuoka said.

Matsuoka said the new school year will approach rapidly.

“It’s going to be a school year like no other,” Matsuoka said. “Yes, this year was crazy because it got disrupted in March, but next year across the country, we’re going to open school in a very different environment.”

LINC employees would train teachers in July and August and provide ongoing support during the school year.

“This is just one small piece of a plan that will be unfolding,” board member Laura Capps said.

School District Approves Senior Housing Agreement

The school board voted unanimously to enter a 99-year lease agreement with a developer to build 332 senior apartments, which would include a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units.

The school district has entered into a 99-year lease agreement to build senior housing on land that it owns near Goleta.

The school district has entered into a 99-year lease agreement to build senior housing on land that it owns near Goleta.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The development would be spread across 3.8 acres on what’s known as the “Tatum property,” a swath of undeveloped land next to El Camino Elementary School. 

Red Tail Acquisitions/San Simeon will own the buildings and will hire another company to provide property management. 

The project would have a swimming pool, putting green, walking paths, community gardens, and clubhouse and community center.

The developer has guaranteed a minimum base payment of $700,000 per year to the district, with a 2 percent annual escalation. The district hopes to take in more than $400 million over the 99-year-lease of the project.

The school district has been negotiating a deal to pursue the housing project for about 16 years. 

“Sixteen years in the making,” Capps said. “It’s wonderful senior housing in Goleta. It’s excellent.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.