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Portola Valley School District selects superintendent finalist

School board to vote on appointing Roberta Zarea at May 1 meeting

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The Portola Valley School District has selected Roberta Zarea as the finalist for the superintendent position, according to an April 28 press release.

The school board will vote on whether to appoint Zarea to replace Superintendent Eric Hartwig, who will step down from his post in June, at its meeting on Wednesday, May 1. If the board approves the appointment, Zarea's three-year contract would begin July 1, and she would earn $215,000 per year, according to the proposed contract. Hartwig's salary is $225,000, according to the district.

"I feel deeply honored and humbled to be granted this leadership opportunity in a community so highly motivated to support student success," said Zarea, who has served as assistant superintendent of education services for the Saratoga Unified School District since 2013, in the press release. "One of my immediate goals in Portola Valley is to build a strong relationship with the board of trustees, staff, students, parents, and the community. I will be carefully listening, observing, inquiring and studying input from all the stakeholders involved in the implementation of the district's Blueprint for Excellence."

Before her role as assistant superintendent, Zarea served as a principal, vice principal, coordinator of special projects, and elementary school teacher in the Union School District.

The firm Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates assisted in the search, and the district considered applications from over 30 candidates.

"The PVSD Governing Board of Trustees met with many outstanding candidates for the role of Superintendent," board President Jeff Klugman said in a prepared statement. "Ms. Zarea's qualifications, and, in particular, her experience in the Saratoga Union School District and her visible passion for education set her apart from other excellent candidates. Ms. Zarea was our top choice. On behalf of the entire Board of Trustees and the Portola Valley community, we're excited to attract someone with Ms. Zarea’s background to our district."

Zarea led important changes to the Saratoga district's middle school math placement process, a kindergarten extended day initiative and to the district's sexuality education program, according to the press release.

Zarea, a San Jose resident, is originally from Michigan. She earned a bachelor's degree in Russian language and literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She also has a master's in elementary education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and a master's in educational leadership from San Jose State University. She is completing work toward a doctorate in educational leadership from San Jose State.

The school board will meet at 5 p.m. on Wednesday in the Ormondale School Library, 200 Shawnee Pass in Portola Valley.

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