Elk Grove school district names Hoffman as new superintendent

Elk Grove Unified School District’s board voted unanimously Tuesday evening to hire a local resident and Valley High School graduate as its new superintendent.

Christopher R. Hoffman, 46, will be paid $270,000 and will receive $800 a month for transportation and business expenses. He will be eligible for post-retirement health benefits if he serves at least eight years, according to his four-year contract.

His predecessor, Steven Ladd, made $273,195 annually. Ladd officially retired last week after nine years as superintendent.

The 62,500-student district is the fifth-largest in California.

When Hoffman starts the job Nov. 17, he will be the sixth superintendent to lead the district in its 55-year history. He also will be the first district alumnus with the job.

Trustee Bobbie Singh-Allen called it a “historic moment. I’m happy for our district and Valley High School. It was a tough decision. The candidates were top-notch.”

The new superintendent should have no problems finding his way around. He has lived in Elk Grove for 30 years and has worked as a teacher and vice principal in the district. His two sons – Chris Jr. and Jacob – attend Cosumnes Oaks High School.

“He is a parent and he worked in our district, so he can really hit the ground running, knowing our school district,” Board President Priscilla Cox told The Sacramento Bee.

Hoffman has been with El Dorado Union High School District since 2008, spending the first two years as associate superintendent and the last four as superintendent. The district serves 7,000 students.

Before that, he served as a principal at Mira Loma High School in the San Juan Unified School District and as principal at Tokay High School in Lodi. He began his career as a teacher in the Elk Grove Unified School District in 1992, advancing to the position of vice principal at Laguna Creek High School in 1998.

When asked earlier Tuesday whether Hoffman had the experience needed to run a district the size of Elk Grove Unified, Cox said, “He does have a proven track record of really making a difference with schools and students. The fact he is homegrown is bonus.”

The cumulative API scores of students at El Dorado Union High School increased 43 points during Hoffman’s tenure, according to Elk Grove Unified officials. The cumulative API scores of students went up 62 points at Mira Loma High School and 102 points at Tokay High students in Lodi when he was the principal at those schools.

Cox said she doesn’t have any concerns about the demographic differences between Elk Grove Unified, where half the students are considered low-income, and El Dorado Union, where 1 in 5 are low-income.

“He has worked in large districts, lives in a large district and is connected,” Cox said, adding that trustees were looking for someone with a “capacity to grown and learn.”

Hoffman received his bachelor’s degree in social science at California State University, Sacramento, before receiving teaching and administrative credentials at Chapman University, CSUS and the University of La Verne in Southern California. At La Verne, he also earned his master’s degree in education.

Hoffman will meet with students and the community at a welcoming ceremony at 8:30 a.m. today at Valley High, 6300 Ehrhardt Ave. in Sacramento.

Trustees Tuesday said they were proud of the “very intense but thorough process” of finding a new superintendent.

Elk Grove Unified began searching for a superintendent earlier this summer with the help of a contract search firm, McPherson & Jacobson LLC.

The district also conducted an online survey, held eight community meetings and convened 25 stakeholder meetings. Board members and representatives of the stakeholder groups interviewed all finalists for the job.

“I hope this sets the precedent for every other school district,” Singh-Allen said.