Pajaro Valley Unified appoints former teacher, administrator Murry Schekman as interim superintendent
Murry Schekman has more than 40 years’ experience in education, half of those in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and most recently in the counselor education department at San Jose State University. He and his wife raised their three children in Watsonville, where he served as principal of Watsonville High School from 2006 to 2010.
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After Michelle Rodriguez announced her resignation as Pajaro Valley Unified School District superintendent last month, Murry Schekman, a former longtime district employee, wondered how Santa Cruz County’s largest district would move forward.
Then two district board members called the San Jose State University adjunct professor to ask if he would consider applying for the role.
“I was very strong in saying, ‘No, I’m not interested in the long-term job, I’m 70 years old. I like what I’m doing at San Jose State,’” he recalled. “And then I thought about the interim [role] ... and the contributions I think I can make for a period of time.”
Schekman submitted his resignation to the university.
Following an application process, the PVUSD board appointed Schekman to serve as the interim superintendent during its Wednesday meeting.
Rodriguez left the role at the end of June following seven years of service.
Michelle Rodriguez led Pajaro Valley Unified School District and its approximately 19,000 students through many...
Schekman has more than 40 years’ experience in education, half of those in the Pajaro Valley school district. Most recently, Schekman was teaching in the counselor education department at San Jose State.
“I want to build whatever success has gone on, I want to look at the quality of programs and really have a focus on student achievement, and want to make the community as actively involved as it could be,” he said Wednesday. “And those are attributes of mine in my schools and in my work in the past.”
The PVUSD board voted unanimously to approve the contract to appoint Schekman as interim superintendent while it begins its search for a permanent head of the district. The contract goes into effect Monday and ends June 30, 2024 — unless the district finds a replacement sooner or terminates the contract.
“With Mr. Schekman, we have an opportunity to work with a highly experienced educator who is very familiar with our district, who is connected to our community and can take on this role in a way that allows our programs to continue without interruption as we embark on the process of searching for a permanent superintendent,” board president Jennifer Holm said during the Wednesday meeting.
Prior to the meeting, board trustee Adam Scow said Schekman has extensive experience in the district and a lot of support from community members.
“I feel fortunate he was willing to apply and leave his position to take this on,” Scow said.
Schekman was born in Minneapolis and moved to Southern California with his family at a young age. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 1975, he got his first teaching job as a long-term substitute at Watsonville High School — where he later served as principal from 2006 to 2010. He also served in different roles in neighboring districts until he finished his time at PVUSD as the assistant superintendent in secondary education from 2010 to 2015.
He and his wife raised their three children in Watsonville, and currently he lives just out of town near Four Corners Market — still in the district. One of his sons attended Watsonville High while Schekman was principal there.
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Tony Nuñez, who became best friends with Schekman’s son while attending Watsonville High with him, said the board’s appointment of Schekman will be good for the district. Nuñez is the spokesperson for local nonprofit Community Bridges.
“He really understands and has perspective as to some of the challenges of the learners in the district,” said Nuñez, adding that Schekman fully believes and supports the public school system.
During its Wednesday evening meeting, the PVUSD board also approved a contract with a firm to conduct the search for a new superintendent. Scow said the board will work toward establishing a timeline for hiring a permanent superintendent now that it has the contract.
After Rodriguez’s departure announcement, Holm told Lookout in June that the district would seek community input and hopes to have a new permanent superintendent by the fall.