After more than two years without a permanent leader, Dublin Unified School District is expected to confirm the appointment of its next permanent superintendent at the Board of Trustees regular meeting on Tuesday, starting 7 p.m.
Chris Funk, the outgoing superintendent of a school district in the San Jose area, is the board's top pick for the job in Dublin, depending on the outcome of contract negotiations in closed session earlier in the evening.
Funk, who has spent more than three decades in public education, has been superintendent at East Side Union High School District for nine years but last summer announced he would be stepping down there at the end of this school year.
"While already a high-performing district, one that the students, staff, board, and the community should be very proud of, I'm eager to see what new heights we can achieve together and how we can provide every student a world-class education regardless of their economic, gender or cultural background," Funk said in a statement released by DUSD on May 6.
If confirmed, Funk would start his new job on July 1 and become DUSD's first permanent superintendent since 2019.
The last permanent superintendent, Leslie Boozer, suddenly departed from the district during the middle of her contract in March 2019 -- a decision billed as a mutual agreement with the board at the time -- and was soon replaced by former Dublin High School principal and retired Newark Unified School District superintendent Dave Marken.
Marken agreed to stay on for two years, to give the district and board enough time to find a permanent leader, but he abruptly stepped down at the end of his first full year, in June 2020. The exact reason Marken parted ways with DUSD was never disclosed but the move came just weeks after disagreements over reopening plans and a tentative agreement between DUSD and the Dublin Teachers Association was voted down, against Marken's recommendation.
Daniel Moirao has served as interim superintendent this school year.
In a letter to the East Side district, Funk said in August he was leaving at the end of the 2020-21 school year "to provide a smooth transition as the Board seeks their new superintendent and I seek new personal opportunities."
According to a report by San Jose Spotlight, Funk said his pending departure from ESUHSD wasn't on the best terms, with many disagreements stemming from the district's deficit problem, and that he couldn't "lead in this environment anymore.”
“I want to help us get through this pandemic and hopefully release some of the pressure allowing new thoughts for solving the deficit to come to fruition. That’s the only reason why I’m stepping down," Funk told San Jose Spotlight.
DUSD Board President Dan Cherrier praised Funk as "exceptionally qualified to lead our district, now and into the future."
"The process of selecting a superintendent for a school district with all the complexities found in Dublin is not easy," Cherrier said in a statement. "Dublin is a unique environment and the Board needed to be confident that the selected candidate has the skills needed to address our current growth challenges while maintaining academic excellence, being vigilant regarding issues of equity, and positioning the district for future success."
A nationwide recruitment to find DUSD's next permanent superintendent was started two years ago, and included feedback from multiple stakeholders including the DTA, California School Employees Association (CSEA), Dublin Partners in Education (DPIE), Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE), student and city leadership, and more.
As part of the search, a 15-person Community Interview Committee was formed. After the first round of interviews, candidates were selected for an additional interview with the committee, who then consulted with the board to help select the final candidate.
Funk, a native of San Jose, graduated with a master's in social science from San Jose State University before starting his career in education as a teacher with ESUHSD, then served in various leadership roles at San Jose Unified School District before later returning to ESUHSD. He currently lives in San Jose with his wife, Leslie, and has two grown sons that also live in the Bay Area.
Contract negotiations pertaining to the next superintendent are listed on Tuesday night's closed-session agenda for the board before its open-session meeting during which the trustees expect to make a final decision. Potential terms of the contract have not yet been released publicly.
Editor's note: Weekly editor Jeremy Walsh contributed to this story.