Top Sacramento City schools administrator tapped as interim superintendent

Board members for Sacramento city schools tapped a top district administrator Thursday night to serve as interim superintendent after Superintendent Jonathan Raymond leaves his post at the end of this year.

The board named Sara Noguchi, an assistant superintendent for the district’s Central Area, to the post. She oversees 21 schools, including the superintendent’s seven priority schools, which are part of an initiative to transform low-performing schools in high-needs neighborhoods.

Noguchi, who celebrates her 51st birthday Friday, said in an interview that immediately after Thanksgiving she will begin working with Raymond in the transition to take on his responsibilities. At the same time, she will guide the person selected to take over her duties.

Her selection came in a 5-2 vote during the board’s closed session Thursday night, with board members Gustavo Arroyo and Diana Rodriguez opposed. The vote was announced at the start of the open session. Neither Arroyo nor Rodriguez was available to comment about the reasons for their opposition.

Noguchi will receive a per diem rate of $883 for each day worked – an amount equal to a maximum annualized income of $192,500.

Next on tap: board members must decide the process for finding a permanent superintendent.

“I do know there has been discussion about starting the search as soon as possible,” Noguchi said. “But they (board members) haven’t made any decision on that.”

Noguchi said she has worked in the Elk Grove Unified School District, starting as a teacher and later principal of that district’s James Rutter Middle School in Sacramento. When she left to join the Sacramento City district in 2011, she was director of secondary education in Elk Grove.

She said she joined the Sacramento district because of Raymond and because “the district itself was moving in a direction of innovation.”

Raymond, after more than four years as superintendent, announced last month that he would resign the post to return to his native Boston and to spend more time with family members.