New year, new job for schools chief

December 30, 2002 11:00 pm


Outgoing Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Dan White is packed and ready to begin his new job in Martinez.

He said he tried to leave the office in good shape for Joe Silva, who takes over on Monday.

White came to Tuolumne County 15 years ago, and served as Jamestown School District superintendent before being elected to the county position.

He served one four-year term and lost the job to Silva in March by 1,081 votes.

Silva is leaving a three-year career as superintendent of Sonora Elementary School for the position, and will be replaced by Ken Harbord from Redding.

White has done double duty for the past two months, commuting between Sonora and Martinez so he can fulfill one obligation and educate himself about the next.

He officially moves to Martinez on Monday to take the helm of a school district serving about 4,400 students — which White said is a perfect size for him.

"It's been a little wear and tear," White said of his commute, "but I feel good about fulfilling my obligations (to the Tuolumne County Office of Education)."

Meanwhile, White's wife, Betty, will continue to live in the Mother Lode and work in Calaveras County, where she has served as a curriculum director for the Calaveras Unified School District for 20 years. The two plan to see each other on weekends.

White, 53, said he is leaving a sound budget. But with sharp cuts coming down from the state, he predicts Silva will face fiscal difficulties during his term.

"We're in some tough times," White said. "We're going through declining enrollment coupled with the fiscal situation."

The biggest challenge for Silva, White said, will be improving communication and cooperation among Tuolumne County's 12 districts and the county office, and offering support to the districts as they trim their already sparse budgets.

Although White's role in Tuolumne County public education is ending, he said his concern for the students and schools here will continue.