Todd Guild/The Pajaronian New PVUSD Superintendent Heather Contreras, fourth from left, stands with Trustees Olivia Flores, President Georgia Acosta, Oscar Soto, Jennifer Holm, Daniel Dodge, Jr. and Adam Scow.

The Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved a three-year contract for its new superintendent.

Heather Contreras’ contract shows her start date of May 1. Her base pay will be $242,000 per year, with a 2% raise after one year, pending a positive review.

She will receive the same benefits package as other district employees, in addition to a $600 vehicle stipend, as well ad a stipend for her doctoral degree.

Acosta said the appointment took “numerous” governing board meetings to find, vet and hire Contreras.

In a statement to the packed room, Contreras said that her leadership philosophy rests on the idea of “connection, collaboration and community.”

Contreras said she plans to spend her first few weeks on a districtwide “look, listen and learn” journey to meet students, families, community members, school employees and teachers.

“I look forward to that, I feel like Monday was a really great start and I thank you for your time and all of the energy you put into finding your next superintendent,” she said.

Her appointment followed a visit to Modesto City Schools, where she has worked as Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership for the last four years.

Her experience includes teaching primary, intermediate and junior high school grades, serving as a site administrator at several schools and district office leadership for the past seven years. 

She has taught at the collegiate level preparing teachers for their administrative credentials. She also presents in doctoral programs, Acosta said. 

Contreras is a member of the California Educational Partners Collaborative, which is a network of educators examining and promoting change ideas around student outcomes.

The Superintendent position opened up in June, when Michelle Rodriguez announced her departure.

Only three people spoke during the public comment period, all of them in favor of Contreras’ contract.

Pajaro Valley Federation of Teachers President Nelly Vaquera-Boggs said that, during the site visit, she “made a beeline” to talk to as many people as she could to get a feel for Contreras’ leadership, and heard good reports.

“We are pleased with what we were able to hear,” she said. 

And then, speaking directly to Contreras, Vaquera-Boggs added, “We look forward to working with you, because there is a lot of work to do in this district.”

Trustee Oscar Soto echoed those sentiments about the visit to Modesto.

“The place is run well,” he said. “It’s a tight watch, and I hope you bring that ideology to this district once you go around and start seeing our facilities and how they’re maintained. We as a board have had a task over the past few months in finding you. And I think we did well, and we’re all in agreement.”

Contreras inherits a district facing a drop in revenues due in part to declining enrollment that is expected to continue into the future.

Over the past decade, PVUSD has lost roughly 3,000 students, going from 18,368 in the 2013-14 year to last year, when it had 15,920.

That’s a problem when 65% of school districts’ revenues come from per-pupil funding, also called average daily attendance.

With every student bringing in more than $14,000 in Average Daily Attendance funds, losing 120 students would mean an annual loss of $1.6 million.

Previous articleOpinion: Watsonville City Council wrong on runway decision
Next articleWatsonville’s Giancarlo Mendo, Aptos’ Mileena Carbajal named Preps of the Week | Central Coast Prep Sports Ticker
General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA.


  1. hopefully now our kids can get buses to get to and from school, should be a priority. Many of our community parents are agricultural workers and do not have the means to leave work to drop off and pick up their students.

    • Please sign me up for the newsletter - Yes


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here