Hollister School District Superintendent Lisa Andrew will resign after just two years on the job to take a position at a nonprofit organization in Silicon Valley.
Andrew told school officials of her decision this week. It came just over two years after the district named her to succeed former Superintendent Gary McIntire.
She is departing the role to take a job at a nonprofit agency, said district Trustee Robert Bernosky.
“It came as a complete surprise to me,” Bernosky said.
He said she had been maturing into the “CEO of a 560-employee entity.”
“We have some difficulties or hard times facing us in terms of some litigation with the county, but Lisa’s not the type that would be deterred by that,” Bernosky said. “We finished our negotiation with the union, so that didn’t seem to be an issue. I think she’s just moving on to probably, for her, a better opportunity.”
The school district is suing the county claiming it was shorted on developer impact fees in recent years.
With the superintendent role, the school board will next look at hiring a search firm and will bring on an interim superintendent for the role.
There’s no firm departure date for Andrew, and Bernosky mentioned that the district actually has to release her from the contract. Her initial contract had a June 30, 2019 expiration, but it currently has a 2020 end date because her deal with HSD added 12 months for each year in which she receives a satisfactory job evaluation.
Bernosky noted how he’s not in favor of such provisions in a contract, and said he wants the district to avoid delays with moving forward on the next steps. He said “step one” is to find an interim, “which will happen rather quickly” because there’s a pool of retired superintendents who can fill the role. Step two is getting a search firm on board for the permanent hire.
Two years is a relatively short amount of time for a superintendent to stay at a district, but Bernosky believes the most intriguing story is that Andrew got a lot done in in that span.
“It was contentious at times, especially with me, but I really do feel like she matured into that CEO that we needed and now she’s moving on to probably be closer to home,” he said.
At the top of the list, Bernosky said, is that she hired high-quality assistant superintendents in finance, human resources and curriculum.
A goal for Bernosky with the next superintendent, though, will be finding someone who wants to live here permanently — though it’s not a “deal breaker” for him — as Andrew has lived in Campbell with an apartment locally during her time here.
Another trustee, Pat Moore, said she understands Andrew’s decision.
“Well, I’m sorry that she’s leaving but I understand when an opportunity arises, you can’t plan on it,” Moore said.
Andrew came to the Hollister School District two summers ago from her role as executive director of Partners in School Innovation, a San Francisco-based nonprofit. She will join a nonprofit foundation in Silicon Valley.
“She seems very passionate about what they do and the difference they can make in individual kids’ and families’ lives,” Moore said.
Moore went on: “We’re all very sorry that she’s going to be leaving us. She started so many important programs and she does a fantastic job of implementation. … She’s going to be a hard act to follow.
Neither Andrew nor other board trustees could be reached immediately.