New elementary superintendent takes the helm July 1

April 27, 2007
Santa Paula News
Brian D. Wilson Santa Paula TimesThe newly hired superintendent of the Santa Paula Elementary School District will start on the job, effective July 1 of this year.The board voted last month to hire Elizabeth Devita, currently the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services in the Morongo Unified School District.DeVita said she saw an ad for the position in a professional publication and it peaked her interest. She spent a Sunday in the area with her husband Jeff before her interview with the board. DeVita said she and her husband are excited about moving here. “It’s new to us and it’s beautiful and we’re looking forward to learning more about the area,” she added.The SPESD will be paying Devita $155,000 annually, plus $8,000 for health insurance. They are also allowing $10,000 for her move from the desert to Santa Paula.
Her contract runs for three years and the board will review her salary annually, based on her performance evaluation and the district’s budget.The outgoing superintendent, Dr. Luis Villegas started at $146,950. His current salary is about $159,000 plus $10,000 for health insurance. Dr. Villegas has been with the district for five years. Villegas said it was with mixed emotions that he informed the school board of his decision. Villegas says he believes the district has made significant progress during his tenure here. “It’s been an uphill battle at times,” he noted. “We’ve got teachers doing a terrific job and support staff that are doing a terrific job in terms of working with kids.” He said there was no pressure from the board for him to leave.DeVita began her education career as a high school Spanish teacher in Rockton, Illinois. After six years she relocated to the Morongo Unified School District where she taught Spanish and English for one year before becoming an assistant principal at an elementary school in 1989 in the same district. From 1991 through 2002 she served as a school principal. She was named as Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Services in 2002.

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