Schools - February 17, 2010

Sequoia high school district superintendent Patrick Gemma plans to retire in June

Patrick Gemma, the superintendent of the Sequoia Union High School District since February 2003, has announced that he will retire on June 30, the end date for his current contract with the district, according to a district statement.

The governing board will begin the process of searching for a new superintendent at its Wednesday, Feb. 17, meeting, spokeswoman Bettylu Smith said.

Among the milestones during Mr. Gemma's tenure:

• District voters approved two bond measures for $235 million.

• A share of that bond money funded new performing arts centers at both Woodside and Menlo-Atherton high schools.

• M-A and Woodside added remedial classes to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act.

• Two charter schools — Summit Prep and Everest — opened in Redwood City, the second of which Mr. Gemma fought relentlessly in 2009.

Board president Olivia Martinez said Mr. Gemma played a "pivotal" role in developing the district's vision and set of goals for the new century. "His leadership will be missed but his legacy will continue for many years to come," she said.

Mr. Gemma retires after 38 years in California education, including positions as assistant superintendent, principal, vice-principal, and special education teacher, Ms. Smith said.

Mr. Gemma added that he is "looking forward to rejuvenating over the summer and spending more time with my aging father and family, reconnecting with friends, and contemplating which interests and challenges I might like to pursue next."


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