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SFUSD Superintendent Vincent Matthews announces retirement ‘with a heavy heart’

San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Vincent Matthews announced Wednesday that he will retire on June 30, school officials said in a press release.

Matthews has served as the superintendent for SFUSD since May 2017. He said in a statement:

“With a heavy heart, I want to share the news that I plan to retire from SFUSD on June 30, 2021. I am eternally grateful to the community and the school board for allowing me to have had the opportunity to serve the community that raised me and made me who I am.”

He added that while he is saddened to leave as the district faces challenges, including the return of students to classrooms, he believes it is the right time to depart and allow the Board of Education to choose a superintendent who aligns more its mission:

Matthews said:

“There are many new commissioners on the SF Board of Education and I want them to have the opportunity to select a new superintendent who is aligned with their approach.”

Matthews declined to provide further details about his departure, adding that he remains committed to bringing students back to classrooms.

Ching Wong/SFBay San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Vincent Matthews speaks during a press conference announcing traffic safety efforts for back to school week at Everett Middle School in Francisco, Calif., on Friday, Aug 17, 2018.

The superintendent is a San Francisco native who attended public schools in the district he currently serves. Before joining SFUSD as superintendent, Matthews worked in the same capacity in the Inglewood Unified School District. Prior to his time at Inglewood, he led the San Jose Unified School District for over five years.

Board of Education President Gabriela López said commissioners will work with Matthews to create a transition plan and will share more information in the future about hiring a replacement.

In statement, López thanked Matthews for his “leadership” and “care” for the school district community:

“He has been a steadfast and focused partner as we have prioritized the safe reopening of schools during the pandemic. We are fortunate to have worked with an educator who is a native of San Francisco and proud alumni of our public schools.”

School officials have had a rocky several months as parents and city officials demanded the school district reopen school sites. It has now been nearly a year since over 52,000 students in the district were forced into distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The school district this week announced plans to phase some students back into physical classrooms, but many will have to continue remote learning for the rest of the spring semester.

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