By David M. Greenwald
Davis, CA – It won’t be official until April 21, but the decision has been made and, after an eight-month job search for the replacement to John Bowes, the board is sticking with the in-house candidate and will elevate Matt Best to full time Superintendent.
Best exemplifies the notion of “homegrown” talent. He has been with DJUSD for 22 years, starting out as a student teacher at Davis High and moved up the ranks from teacher to Principal, to Administrator, Associate Superintendent, Interim Superintendent, and finally Superintendent.
But the board took the long path to get him there, naming him interim Superintendent when John Bowes left last summer, but then spending eight months searching. According to a release, “The Board partnered with an executive search firm to conduct a competitive hiring process, which included gathering and reviewing community feedback from DJUSD staff, students, families and members of the Davis community.”
They will then formally approve the employment at the next regularly scheduled meeting on April 21.
“I learned from the Superintendent search that the Davis Joint Unified School District attracts outstanding candidates and that we are able to select the most qualified person,” said DJUSD Board President Tom Adams in the district’s release. “Matt Best has the knowledge and skills to be a Superintendent, but more importantly, he has the heart of a parent and teacher.”
“Best has been serving as the District’s Interim Superintendent since August 2021 upon the departure of Dr. Bowes, and he has led the District operations through a very challenging 2021-22 school year,” the release said.
“The search produced candidates of the highest caliber, but Matt’s skill set to lead DJUSD during these most challenging times and moving forward into a post-pandemic era of public education completely matches our needs and values,” said Board Member Betsy Hyder.
“Matt has a proven record of dedication to our district, students and community,” said Vigdis Asmundson. “His passion for ensuring opportunities in education for all, his empathy, and his vision for our schools are exemplary. I am thrilled that he will continue to lead the District with us.”
“I am deeply grateful for Matt’s 20 years of service to DJUSD,” said Joe DiNunzio. “I am confident that in his new role, he will lead our dedicated staff in pursuit of an excellent education for all of our students—and he will do it with humility, grace and great determination.”
Lea Darrah added, “I look forward to working with Matt Best as our next Superintendent for DJUSD. I am glad that the teachers’ association and our classified union are in support of this selection as well. I believe Matt has the collaborative approach, inclusive mindset, and willingness to address issues head on that Davis needs as we move forward in our District to serve all children and families.”
Best said in the release that he was “humbled and honored to continue to serve the school community he considers a second family.
“I will continue to serve with dedication, integrity, and humility for the remainder of my time in DJUSD. We will continue to foster a love of learning and equip all students with the knowledge, skills, character, and well-being to thrive and contribute to an evolving and increasingly connected world, while doing all we can to ensure that educational outcomes cannot be pre-determined by race, ethnicity and socio-economic status,” said Best.