Visalia Unified strikes deal for Ravalin to serve as interim Superintendent

Tamara Ravalin, the former HR Assistant Superintendent, is in the running for the permanent job, too. She replaces Superintendent Todd Oto.

Dr. Tamara Ravalin will serve as interim Superintendent for Visalia Unified moving forward, the district’s school board voted on Tuesday night.

Ravalin, who served as Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, takes over for ousted Superintendent Todd Oto.


Board member Walta Gamoian said Tuesday she is very happy to have Dr. Ravalin as interim Superintendent.

“I think she’s got some good ideas,” Gamoian said. “We’re going to move forward with just having specific goals for math and reading, and working out our behavior issues as well.”

Gamoian said the board is not expecting to get rid of any personnel, though Assistant Superintendent of Instructional services Melanie Stringer has decided to take a job with Exeter Unified School District as an Associate Superintendent. The board will not fill the position immediately, Gamoian said.

Ravalin’s contract will run for at least one year and may stretch longer, if Visalia Unified does not select a permanent replacement within that timetable.

Ravalin will be considered for the permanent Superintendent position as part of the search.

The contract states by January 30, 2020, the board will devote time during a meeting to evaluate Ravalin’s performance and working relationship with the board. After this meeting, but no later than February 28, 2020, the board will notify Ravalin if it intends to appoint as permanent Superintendent or conduct a search to fill the position.

Ravalin has no retreat rights with the contract to her previous position as Assistant Superintendent, Human Resource Development if she is not chosen as the permanent Superintendent.

Under her new contract, approved by the school board, Ravalin will make $236,078 in salary.

Thanks to many years of work to earn her doctoral degree, she was entitled to a $650 bump in the typical salary for an interim officeholder.

The contract also gives Ravalin a $100 monthly automobile allowance for travel within the district. She will be reimbursed for any travel expenses outside the district.

Visalia Unified will also pay for a term life insurance policy with a face value of $125,000 for Ravalin.

In other news with the district, the board wants to raise teachers’ salaries. Gamoian said the board is hoping to offer three-fourths of a percent on top of the cost of living adjustment for the next couple years so salaries are on par comparable with other districts in the valley.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for June 11 at 7 p.m.

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