The Santa Maria-Bonita School District Board of Education voted to approve the new superintendent at a meeting Wednesday.
In a unanimous vote, the board approved Dr. Darren McDuffie as the new superintendent of schools.
Dr. McDuffie has more than 28 years of experience in K-12 public schools. He comes to SMBSD from the Rialto Unified School District, where he has been the Deputy Superintendent/Lead Strategic Agent for Strategics, Congruence and Social Justice since 2018. In that role, he supports approximately 25,500 preschools through 12th-grade students and more than 2,700 employees.
Dr. McDuffie says he is humbled and honored by his selection. "I am excited about the opportunity to lead the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. Together, we can make the aspirations and dreams of Santa Maria students become a reality," he said. "With the strong vision of the Board of Education, our district will thrive in academic and social-emotional growth - and do what is in the best interest of students."
The SMBSD Board selected Dr. McDuffie after a four-month search. He succeeds Luke Ontiveros, who retired in December of 2021. Deputy Superintendent Matt Beecher will continue as acting superintendent until Dr. McDuffie begins on July 1, 2022.
School Board President Ricky Lara said, "Dr. McDuffie is a proven relationship-builder between employee associations, district administration and community organizations. He is open-minded, he listens to concerns, he engages with children and their families and he follows through on his word in a professional manner. He brings outstanding experience in instruction, collaboration, planning, and motivation. He is an equity-minded leader with a focus on social justice. We know that Dr. McDuffie will be an exceptional superintendent for the Santa Maria-Bonita School District."
SMBSD is a preschool through 8th-grade district with 21 schools. SMBSD is home to more than 17,000 students and more than 2,000 employees.