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S’ville chief John Keiter is retiring

John Keiter, superintendent of the Summerville Union High School and Twain Harte-Long Barn Union School districts, announced his retirement Thursday from both districts.

Keiter started as Summerville High School superintendent in 2003 and began as Twain Harte superintendent in 2007. He was previously an area superintendent for Poway Unified School District in San Diego County, responsible for part of the district.


Keiter’s last day at Summerville High will be June 30. He anticipates a new superintendent being hired in April or May.

He will conduct the search, with opportunities for public input provided on the district’s website. Decisions on hiring are ultimately made by the school’s Board of Education. 

Unlike Keiter, the new superintendent will work only for Summerville. Keiter said the Twain Harte-Long Barn board is “working on (its) own plan” but not making details public yet. 

He named the highlight of his 10 years at Summerville as the recent passage of Measure H, an $8 million bond measure that will fund improvements to the Summerville High campus. 

The bond measure initially appeared to have failed, but a recount revealed that it had passed by two votes. 

“That’s the highlight because it will have a lasting impact on the community,” Keiter said. 

He started his career in schools as a head custodian while in college at California State University, Long Beach. He later taught junior high school English and science at Ocean View School District in Huntington Beach and was principal at Mountain Empire High School in Pine Valley in San Diego County. 

Among his achievements at Summerville High, he lists leading the modernization of the cafeteria and other parts of the campus, funded by money from a previous bond measure passed in 1998. 

Keiter is the highest-paid school administrator in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties, and his salary has drawn criticism. He will earn about $207,000 this year as superintendent of both Summerville High and Twain Harte-Long Barn.

Though he believes consolidating his school districts would cause financial losses, he said he has “aggressively” pursued the sharing of services between districts. Summerville High shares administrative, bus maintenance and technology services, he said. 

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