Former Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Superintendent Dr. Mark Richardson passed away Monday, Nov. 15.
Dr. Richardson began his career at the SMJUHSD in September of 2012 and retired in June of 2019.
During his time there Dr. Richardson helped create the Career Technical Education Center & Agricultural Farm, passage Measure H 2016 including other programs and infrastructure that benefitted youth and the community.
"As a friend and colleague of Mark for over 30 years, his unexpected passing hits very hard,'' said John Davis, SMJUHSD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. "Mark brought passion, humor and professionalism to everything he did and he shared those gifts generously with all that worked with him. His impact on this district and community was profound and we were indeed fortunate to have benefited from his leadership during the seven years he served the SMJUHSD."
SMJUHSD School Board President, Dr. Jack Garvin, described Dr. Richardson as a "Pioneer".
"Mark gave the high school district extensive leadership in both academics and Career Technical Education during his seven years as our Superintendent,'' Garvin added. "His crowning gift to Santa Maria was the recently dedicated Career Technical Education Center and Agricultural Farm. Without his personal commitment and vision of the future for all our students, this center would not have been developed. Mark left a true legacy for future generations.''
He served 31 years in education, prior to SMJUHSD he spent four years as Superintendent of the Taft Union High School District. In addition, he held a variety of administrative, teaching and coaching positions in the Kern High School District.
Dr. Richardson earned his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from University of La Verne in 2007, his Master's Degree in Educational Administration from California Lutheran University in 1992 and received a Bachelor's Degree in History at UC Berkeley in 1985.
Dr. Richardson is survived by his wife, Kelly, and two sons, Vaughn and Val, and a daughter, Sherah. Funeral and memorial services have not been announced.