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Board may select interim district leader
MUSD bus

School District earlier this month, it represented a coming change at the top of the district’s hierarchy for the first time in more than a decade.

And if the Board of Education makes a decision this morning to name an Interim Superintendent, there won’t be any gap in having someone in charge.

In a special meeting that starts at 10 a.m. at Be.Central – located on the Manteca Unified School District Administrative Complex at 2271 W. Louise Avenue – the Manteca Unified school board will vote to appoint an Interim Superintendent to replace Messer during the transition and while a permanent replacement is sought.

The two likeliest candidates to step into Messer’s role are the two Deputy Superintendents –Clark Burke and Roger Goatcher – that each have a separate and distinct responsibility in managing the district.

Burke, who has pillared the facilities and operations side of the district as the Deputy Superintendent of Operational Services, has past experience as a site administrator and is currently a Field Grade Officer in the United States Army Reserve – serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom II. As the district faces arguably it’s most concentrated period of sustained growth, Burke has been a cornerstone of the plan to accommodate a swelling student population with limited resources and played a huge role in determining the need of individual campuses for modernization and making sure the bond money set aside to upgrade school sites has gone as far as it can.

And Goatcher, the Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services, has risen through the ranks of the district from a Vice Principal at French Camp Elementary through multiple office-level administrative posts up to his current chair. Tasted with facilitating the district’s curriculum and ensuring that students are ready for the world in which they will eventually enter as adults, Goatcher has a good reputation with both teachers and district officials alike and is recognizable outside of school settings as an active member of the community.

If a decision is made on who to promote to the interim post, the board could also make a formal decision on whether to hire an outside agency to help conduct an out-of-district search for a replacement. Messer was an in-district hire from a Deputy Superintendent post similar to the Goatcher currently occupies, and past Superintendents that were hired through consultants did not put down roots in the community – with Cathy Nichols-Washer moving on after five years to helm Lodi Unified School District, and John Rieckewald, who pushed some radical ideas like putting Manteca Unified into the telecommunications industry by providing wireless internet from its campuses, came from Fremont in 2000 and left after only three years.

Messer has been the District’s Superintendent for the last 11 years and is currently the second-longest serving Superintendent in San Joaquin County, behind Nichols-Washer.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.