Berkeley school district names interim superintendents

Javetta Cleveland and Neil Smith, newly named joint interim superintendents, at the BUSD board meeting on August 22. Photo: Tracey Taylor

Berkeley Unified School District has named Javetta Cleveland and Neil Smith, both BUSD staff, as joint interim superintendents for an unspecified period of time until someone is found to fill the shoes of former superintendent Bill Huyett who has retired.

BUSD Board President John Selawsky said at the board’s meeting on Wednesday night that a candidate is currently being interviewed for the district’s top position.

Cleveland, who is BUSD Deputy Superintendent, and Smith, who is Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, took up their duties at the Wednesday board meeting.

Huyett, who has now left the position of superintendent, announced in December that he planned to retire after four years in the job.

The board hired a search firm to find a replacement candidate and had hoped to have one in place by June 30, the target date of Huyett’s exit. After receiving 60 applications and interviewing 10 people, the board failed to find an appropriate candidate. It then asked Huyett to postpone his departure, which he did. As the date for his definitive departure approached, the decision was made to appoint two interim superintendents, as reported by Berkeleyside last week.

The BUSD board also voted in a closed session Wednesday to give a one-time, 1% bonus to all Berkeley teachers. Teachers now have to accept the offer. The news was welcomed at the public session of the meeting by Cathy Campbell, President of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers.

Two interim superintendents to take reins at BUSD [08.16.12]
What does Berkeley want from its new schools head? [03.14.12]
Berkeley schools superintendent Bill Huyett to retire [12.06.11]

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  • Berkeley Unified School District has named Javetta Cleveland and Neil Smith, both BUSD board members, as joint interim superintendents

    Neither is a board member.

  • Javetta Cleveland and Neil Smith, newly named joint interim superintendents, presided over the BUSD board meeting on August 22

    Isn’t that President Selawsky’s role?  He was present according to your article — why would the superintendent(s) “preside”?  

  • You’re right of course. Slip of the pen. Have made the fix.

  • Fair enough. Have fixed the wording too. Thx.

  • Thanks Tracey.  I’m sensitive to this one because, in my opinion, one of the problems in BUSD is that the Board is insufficiently independent/critical of staff, including the Superintendent.  Yes, it’s a partnership and they should work well together, but I can recall multiple occasions where the Superintendent made assertions without critical inquiry by board members.  I can’t recall any cases where board members exhibited leadership on an issue and held the Superintendent accountable.  In short, my sense of how this body functions is that the Superintendent does effectively preside, even though that’s not how it’s supposed to work.

  • Completely_Serious

    TWO Superintendents! It’s like Double Mint gum.  Twice as good.  Two bonuses, two goosed benefits and pension packages, etc. 

    Who will do these persons’ jobs while they’re doing the Superintendent’s job?  Why, FOUR staffers will be temporarily promoted to their jobs.  Then eight, then sixteen.  It’s insane.


    I promise you, I will do everthing I can to get the incumbents defeated this year and in 2014.

  • jjohannson

    I’ve got a fever, and the only cure for that fever is MORE ALL CAPZ!!!

  • Anonymous

    Javetta Cleveland…where do I know that name from?  Oh yeah, she’s the one who wrote the statement defending BUSD’s stonewalling of the California Watch investigation into the district’s defense of the sexual predator Anthony Smith:

  • The Sharkey

    One position filled for the price of two!

  • The Sharkey

    Oh man, a reference to an SNL sketch from 12 years ago? How witty!

  • jjohannson

    Zzzzz.  Can you pollute some other web site for a while, or start your own so no one has to read your flatulence?  In the meantime, if you could limit your comments to 50 a day, these Berkeleyside threads might yet recover some value.

    Your boring, omnipresent icon is literally driving traffic from the site.

  • Guess

    What you say is certainly true for me, jjohansson. I have taken to avoiding Berkeleyside to avoid The Sharkey’s comments. I try to avert my eyes and skip him but I guess I read fast. Plus he is constantly popping up, almost always snarky (altho not every single post he writes is negative, I acknowledge that minor positivity).

    They banned Bruce love. Why does The Sharkey get a pass?

  • EBGuy

     At what price?  Oh wait, BUSD hasn’t released that info.

  • Because he’s thoughtful, insightful and doesn’t threaten to sue people as Bruce did.  You’re entitled to your opinion but it isn’t universally shared.

  • 4Eenie

    The Sharkey, as well as some other prolific posters on Berkeleyside, has great insight and knowledge to share. It’s a bummer you focus on the negative. I welcome The Sharkey’s comments.

  • 4Eenie

    ” I have taken to avoiding Berkeleyside to avoid The Sharkey’s comments.”
    …And yet here you are, on Berkeleyside, commenting on a post from The Sharkey.


  • Anonymous

    I try to avert my eyes but I can’t! His little shark incubus draws me in with its spiteful power.

  • The Sharkey

    That’s not really a fair characterization of what happened. Bruce chose temporary exile rather than agree to stop threatening other posters with lawsuits.

    The final decision was his.

  • The Sharkey

    I don’t understand how they get away with refusing to release this kind of information, and why people from other parts of the Bay still think Berkeley has some sort of magically excellent public school system despite all the scandals.

    Yeah, they’re not as bad as Richmond or Oakland (hence the illegal enrollment problem) but for all the money we pour into our schools they ought to be a lot better.

  • bgal4

    While it truly is difficult for most to admit, Berkeley voters have low expectations.

  • Guest

     both are already BUSD employees and have taken on this interim job for a short period.  my guess is they each got some kind of extra stipend.  but surely it is not ‘the price of two’ – it;s not like they hired two new employees to be superintendent.