Interim superintendent is permanently hired

Peabody officially part of DMUSD

The “interim” is no longer a part of James Peabody’s title at the Del Mar Union School District. The school board voted on May 6 that Peabody would officially become Sharon McClain’s replacement, approving a two-year contract for the Julian Union High School District superintendent.

The quick decision is a contrast to the hiring process for McClain, who was selected after a summer-long, nationwide search in 2008 in which a search firm and parents were heavily involved.

Peabody has been splitting his time between the Del Mar and Julian districts since April 1 but his position at Julian will end June 30 when the second part of his contract begins in Del Mar.

“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity,” said Peabody, who said he is very impressed with the district in his month serving as the interim superintendent.

He said the staff and teachers are “incredible” and he has loved being in the classroom at different campuses, seeing the “magic” the teachers create. The level of parent involvement also strikes him.

“The community support of the schools is almost breathtaking,” Peabody said.

Peabody, whom the trustees all call “Jim,” has more than 40 years of experience working in education. He got his start in 1970, teaching biology in the Grossmont Union High School District. He would later to go on to be that district’s superintendent for 34 years.

For the last three years he has been superintendent at Julian and he has also served on the Alpine Union School District board and the San Diego County Office of Education as the regional director of school support services.

“In getting to know Jim these last few weeks the intent is that we want him to act in the full capacity as superintendent,” McDowell said.

The first part of Peabody’s contact runs until June 30, paid per diem and not entitled to benefits. His two-year contract begins July 1 and will run through June 30, 2012. According to Jeanne Blumenfeld, an attorney with Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, the contract is for an annual salary of $180,00 including fringe benefits, an auto allowance, 24 sick days, 25 vacation days and a $1,200 a month retirement allowance.

Trustee Comsichell Rodriguez said she was thankful that Peabody was willing to stay on and said he will be a very valuable resource for the district.