Longtime San Luis Coastal educator to retire

Mary Matakovich will retire this month after serving more than 38 years in various education-related roles, most recently as an assistant superintendent at San Luis Coastal Unified School District.

Matakovich spent 28 of those years at San Luis Coastal. She started as principal of San Luis Obispo High School in 1982 — a post she held for 15 years until she was promoted to director of instructional services in 1998. She has served as assistant superintendent for educational services since 2005.

Prior to her time at San Luis Coastal, Matakovich worked as a teacher, counselor and administrator in the Huntington Beach area for 10 years. She also taught at the School of Education at Cal Poly for more than 15 years, guiding future administrators and teachers.

“Mary is one of the rocks of this school district,” said Rick Robinett, district director of personnel services. “She took San Luis Obispo High School and made it world-class, and she’s done the same for the district.”

Matakovich is known for arriving early in the morning, staying late and working on the weekends when necessary.

“She’s tireless, and her retirement will leave a huge void to fill,” Robinett said.

Matakovich said the decision to retire is something she has thought about for more than a year, but she wanted to wait for the new superintendent to be appointed to allow for transition time.

Eric Prater was hired as superintendent by the school board in July to take over leadership from Ed Valentine, who retired in June after five years in the post.

Matakovich is also recognized as an advocate for students who are at times underrepresented, such as those learning English as a second language and economically or socially disadvantaged students. Matakovich is the president of the Martin Luther King Scholarship Fund.

“She’s always had a focus and an interest in helping those students who need the most help,” Robinett said. “It is one of her hallmarks.”

Matakovich was honored as the San Luis Coastal Administrator of the Year in 1997. In 2009, she was given the Women in Education Award at the Cuesta College Women of Distinction Awards Ceremony for her long career in education.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.