Coast Union names interim superintendent

Richard J. Malfatti will also lead search for permanent replacement

ktanner@thetribunenews.comSeptember 19, 2013 

Richard J. Malfatti

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Richard J. Malfatti, adjunct professor at Pepperdine University and retired school-district superintendent, will serve as interim superintendent of the Coast Unified School District through June 30 while he leads the district’s search for a permanent replacement for Chris Adams.

Adams leaves the district Sept. 24 for his new job in Sacramento, after five years of leading North Coast schools through some difficult times, Del Clegg, president of the district Board of Trustees, said at the board’s special meeting Sept. 19. Clegg noted that the district “kept everybody’s job intact, with a few reassignments but no pink slips” during what was the worst recession anybody at the meeting could recall.

Malfatti’s contract starts immediately and ends “no later than June 30, 2014.” The contract covers “a maximum of 79 days of direct service” at $500 a day, not to exceed $39,903 for the contract. He’s not to receive any retirement or vacation pay, sick leave or paid holidays.
Under a separate contract, he also will be paid $20,000 to head the recruitment for the district’s permanent superintendent. Malfatti was not at the Sept. 19 meeting at which the district’s Board of Trustees approved both contracts, as he was teaching a class at Pepperdine, according to Adams.

“I’m very pleased with Dr. Malfatti,” said district Trustee Sue Nash. “He’s a very ‘people’ person.” She noted his “broad past experience in various districts, including Solvang,” and that he “impressed me with his quiet demeanor and professional interest and support for Coast Unified.”

Trustee Judith Hillen noted that Malfatti is bilingual, “very well qualified” and interested in hearing from the community, but he is not seeking the permanent post as superintendent.
Malfatti will have his hands full, as the district’s leadership has undergone some sweeping revisions, retirements and downsizing in the past few years. Karl Dearie, who was essentially serving as assistant superintendent, head of human resources and financial officer, left his posts suddenly this summer. He hasn’t been replaced, but trustees did approve on Sept. 19 hiring Total School Solutions to provide fiscal and business support services. And retired administrative employees Sharon ”Cookie” Henslin and Sandra Paolini have returned part time for a while to help fill the gaps.

The middle and high schools have new principals, as of August 2013 (Kyle Martin) and June 2012 (Wade Lawrence) respectively. Grammar school principal Bob Watt has been in his post since July 1, 2011, although he oversaw the second through 6th grades starting in May of that year.

According to Malfatti’s bio on the Pepperdine website, he has spent nearly a half century in education as a teacher, coach, administrator and a superintendent of two separate K-8 school districts.

Since Malfatti retired, he also has served as interim superintendent in other districts, Adams said.

Malfatti and Adams have served on committees together about four years at the Association of California School Administrators, which is where Adams will be working as assistant executive director of educational services.

Malfatti was selected as ACSA’s elementary principal of the year and superintendent of the year in Region 13, a region that includes San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

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