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San Juan Unified announces reorganization of key roles

San Juan Unified Superintendent Kent Kern today formally announced a reorganization of departments and the district’s senior leadership that will reduce costs while aligning efforts to focus on strategic priorities. The district has seen a number of key vacancies this spring after offering an early retirement incentive and seeing a number of staff move to new roles. 

“Change can be difficult but it also presents opportunities to think critically and creatively about our work,” Kern said. “Making sure that we have the right structure to support the work of our teachers and staff, as well as our families and students, is critical to our success.”

The changes announced today represent more than $200,000 in savings to the district on an annual basis and a net reduction of two management positions. This builds upon prior reductions and other staffing changes including the reduction of the superintendent's cabinet by one member and changes among site administrators and department managers. Full listings of site administrator and district department manager changes are available. 

Most changes go into effect July 1, pending board approval.

After 26 years of service in San Juan Unified, current Assistant Superintendent of Schools and Labor Relations Jim Shoemake announced this week that he will depart after being named superintendent of Rescue Union School District. In his current position, he was responsible for the district’s middle schools and labor relations efforts.

Middle schools will shift to Kristan Schnepp who will assume the role of assistant superintendent of secondary education, who also has responsibility for high schools. She previously served as the senior director of secondary education, which this position will replace, and prior to that was the senior director of professional learning and innovation, which is now a director position and no longer on the superintendent’s cabinet. 

Daniel Thigpen will join the district as the senior director of labor relations. He started his career in K-12 education with San Juan Unified before joining the senior leadership team at Folsom Cordova Unified School District. He currently works at the California Department of Education where he serves as a deputy superintendent of public instruction. 

Amberlee Townsend will now serve as the assistant superintendent of elementary education which replaces her current position as senior director. Responsibility for visual and performing arts, the district’s K-8 homeschool program and the Center for Teacher Support will be added to her existing oversight of all elementary, K-8 and early childhood education programs. 

The assessment evaluation and planning department will be led by an assistant director position yet to be filled and will now report to Gianfranco Tornatore, director of continuous improvement and LCAP. The department had previously reported to the senior director of professional learning and innovation. 

Jennifer Stahlheber joins the district as the new chief financial officer, following the retirement of Deputy Superintendent Kent Stephens. In this revised position, she will have responsibility over budget, purchasing, payroll and risk management. 

Current Senior Director of Community Relations Trent Allen will assume the new position of chief of staff. In this new role, he will be responsible for effectively coordinating and implementing strategic work that reaches across multiple departments and expanding the district’s government relations efforts. He will maintain his responsibility for supporting family and community engagement, grants and special projects, communication and safe schools.

Finally, support for nutrition services and technology services will move to Frank Camarda. who will now serve as the district’s chief operations officer. This adds to his responsibilities for facilities, maintenance, bond construction and transportation.