File photo

Galt Joint Union High School District Superintendent William Spalding (left) has accepted a position at Vallejo City Unified School District. In this 2018 file photo, Spalding is pictured with Mathew Pratton as Pratton is thanked for his service on the Board.

Galt Joint Union High School District (GJUHSD) announced late last week that Superintendent William Spalding would be leaving the district at the end of the month.

“Although we are disappointed that he is leaving our district for new opportunities, we are grateful for the leadership he has provided and his work in helping our district to excel during the last couple of years,” a press statement said. “It has been a pleasure to work with Mr. Spalding and we wish him all the best in his new district.”

Spalding came to the Galt high school district in the spring of 2018, and since that time, Spalding said he has grown to love the Galt community.

“This was a very difficult decision,” Spalding told The Galt Herald Tuesday. “This (Galt) is a terrific district, terrific board, terrific staff and terrific community. This is the best board I’ve worked with. They are phenomenal.”

Those feelings are reciprocated.

“It has been my honor and a true privilege to work closely with Superintendent Spalding during the two years that I have served as Board President,” Daniel Denier said. “His leadership and experience have served our district very well during his time here. We share a love of history and politics and, as a result, have been known to have very lengthy discussions about both. It has been a pleasure to work with someone like Bill and, although I am sorry that he is leaving us for the challenges of a new district, I know that he will do well and he will succeed. I want to thank him for his work here, and I wish him and his family all the best.”

According to Bay Area press coverage, Spalding will be leaving Galt for the superintendent position with Vallejo Unified. The much larger school district consists of over 14,000 K-12 students on more than 20 campuses.

The Vallejo school district is not new to Spalding. He had worked for the district earlier in his career; in fact, he helped to open its most recent high school, Jesse Bethel, albeit 20 years ago.

Vallejo Unified trustee R. Tony Gross told the Vallejo Times-Herald that trustees wanted to make sure they had the people who will make their district number one.

Recently, GJUHSD was awarded the College Board’s Advanced Placement District of the Year award, bringing international attention to the Galt high school district and Spalding himself.

“The achievements and successes of our district have been noticed across the country and, as a result, it is not uncommon for other districts to try and lure our staff away,” the GJUHSD statement said.

With a larger district comes more challenges, something that Spalding said he’s ready and excited for. And although he loves high school students, Spalding said he’s missed the “little kids”, another reason for him to make this shift.

Although much credit is given to Spalding, the GJUHSD statement also gave recognition for the recent successes to current GJUHSD staff.

“The greatness comes not from any one individual, but rather the collection of our entire staff,” it read. “As you know, we have an amazing team of people that we can count on to move the district forward. As with any change, there will be challenges; however, because of the leadership that we have within our district, we as a board are confident that we will get through this in a successful and professional manner.”

Spalding agreed with these sentiments, saying that GJUHSD administration, staff and Board of Trustees were a well-oiled machine.

“This governance, leadership and staff team have a strong dedication and commitment to the kids like no other,” Spalding said. “In my letter to the Board, I sent a list of successes over the last couple of years, and it was a long list, all due to phenomenal staff, leadership and governance. I know the county looks to this board, this district as an example of a high functioning district.”

Spalding said he “wrestled” over this decision, and had the GJUHSD community not been as “phenomenal” as it is, his decision would have been much easier.

“Not to say I’m not going to a good board, but if I could hand pick five board members, I would choose these five,” Spalding said. “Their leadership and dedication to this community is exemplary. Their cohesion as a group is a strong example of great governance.”

The Board met in a closed session last week to discuss Spalding’s departure and procedures for seeking his replacement.

“We assure you that the Board is working on an interim plan for district leadership with the intention of maintaining continuity for our staff and keeping our strong practices in place,” the statement said. “Our focus will continue to be on making decisions that are in the best interest of our students, teachers, schools and community.”