Steve Betando guided evolution of  local schools, earned colleagues’ respect

MHUSD Superintendent Steve Betando and Sobrato High School math teacher Mickey Vallela look through the supplies from Teachers Aid Coalition in 2015

By Staff Report

Superintendent Steve Betando announced he will resign from the Morgan Hill Unified School District effective at the close of the school year June 30. He will have served nearly 10 years in the district, eight of those as superintendent.

The board trustees will soon begin the search process for a new superintendent, said MHUSD Board President Carol Ann Gittens in a Dec. 2 press release.

At the June 16 meeting, confined to the closed session because it is a personnel matter, four out of seven trustees gave Betando an “unsatisfactory” job performance rating. Three gave him a “satisfactory” rating. Due to this evaluation, he was not entitled to an automatic salary raise of 3 percent under his contract terms.

The trustees who rated Betando’s performance unsatisfactory were John Horner, Adam Escoto, Wendy Sullivan,  and Heather Orosco. Trustees Carol Gittens, Mary Patterson and Jeanne Gilliard gave Betando a satisfactory evaluation. Betando said he was surprised by the unsatisfactory evaluation of his job performance.

“Under Steve’s leadership the past eight years, the district has continued on an upward trajectory of improvement in several areas including financial position, facility enhancements, positive employee labor relations, and academic achievement,” Gittens said. “He has demonstrated a high commitment to students, staff, community and overall leadership to the district. Mr. Betando has modeled respect and calm in the midst of challenges and pressure. On behalf of the board and community, I thank Mr. Betando for giving to our community and advising hundreds of educators and trustees in Morgan Hill with his 36 years of experience and knowledge as an educator.”

Betando notes several areas of accomplishments during his time in Morgan Hill Unified including:

  • Increasing educational equity and access for all students
  • Developing quality staff throughout the district
  • Establishing positive working relations with labor groups
  • Creating a culture of continuous improvement
  • Building sustainable budget practices for efficient, effective and appropriate allocation of resources and annual positive certification

“I am so grateful for the opportunity with Morgan Hill Unified School District these last 10 years,” Betando said. “I have valued the exceptionally high standards for ethical practices and professionalism of this staff. I am extremely proud of the countless individual and group efforts that have led to tremendous accomplishments together with our students. Mostly, I will miss the deep human connection with our superior educators and community members. The district has great momentum moving forward and one of my goals is to help make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Danielle Nunes, Morgan Hill Classified Employees Association president, said she is appreciative of Betando’s diligence with the labor union groups to create an equal and equitable workplace for all.

“He worked hard to repair the relationships between the district and the classified employees,” she said. “He was adamant during every negotiation that all groups receive the same increases and made sure we never felt less valued than others. He has always been fair with his decisions and always open to new ideas from anyone, always looking at the betterment of the students and the district as a whole.”

James Levis, Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers president, commended Betando for his years of dedicated service to the district and Morgan Hill community.

“He has had a positive impact on students and families and I’m grateful for his commitment to educating all students. He has been a steady rudder in the current storm and I appreciate his support as we have negotiated this difficult situation. I wish him continued success wherever his future may lead.”

Patrick Buchser, Morgan Hill Educational Leadership Association president, said Betando provided a roadmap to transcend our school district into the 21st-century while also leading from his heart and celebrating the human spirit of innovation.

“Through his positive approach to problem-solving, staying the course of his philosophical beliefs for kids, and a true desire to allow people to be the best they can be, our school district has thrived under his leadership and influence for the last 10 years,” he said.

During his time, Betando guided the evolution of district board representative areas from “at-large” elected positions to “by-district area” positions while also facilitating the governance team changes through several mid-term board member resignations.

Robert Airoldi