Interim appointments fill 2 Merced Union High district vacancies

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comJuly 15, 2013 

— Two key administrative positions with the Merced Union High School District have been filled by interim appointees.

By a 4-1 vote Wednesday night, trustees named Tammie Calzadillas assistant superintendent of educational services. She replaces George Sziraki, who became a school superintendent this month in Auburn.

Craig Chavez was named associate superintendent for human resources; he replaces Sandra Schiber, who recently was named superintendent of the Atwater Elementary School District.

Board President Ida Johnson voted against the interim appointments, saying both should have been made permanent.

"My hope is that we will make them permanent," Johnson said. "I think Craig Chavez will do an excellent job and Tammie Calzadillas is sought after and very good. She's a leader. We need to keep the district moving in the right direction."

Calzadillas and Chavez will earn salaries of $130,983 a year.

Trustee William Snyder III defended the interim appointments, saying the district needs to be careful fiscally and make solid business decisions. He said the director positions that Calzadillas and Chavez previously held haven't been filled to save the community money.

Snyder said the appointments likely will be made permanent in January and is confident in Calzadillas and Chavez.

Superintendent Scott Scambray said Calzadillas and Chavez are top-notch and have proved themselves.

"I have all the confidence in the world they both will be very successful," Scambray said. "They will do a great job."

Calzadillas, 44, has been the district's executive director of educational services for three years.

Before that she was the director of state and federal programs for the Merced City School District and was the principal at Hoover Middle School for seven years.

"We are at a pivotal time in education," Calzadillas said. "There's not a better job as assistant superintendent to be implementing the new Common Core standards. This is a great time to be doing this, and I'm pretty lucky actually."

Calzadillas also worked for the state Department of Corrections as a teacher and administrator for six years and taught in Texas and Oklahoma.

She has a doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of LaVerne, a masters degree from National University and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

"It's nice to be part of a progressive district," Calzadillas said. "I'm really glad to be here."

Chavez, 42, has been the district's executive director of educational options and human resources for two years.

He was principal of Golden Valley High School in Merced for four years, an associate principal there for three years and vice principal for five years at Atwater High School.

"I'm excited to be serving the district and the community this way," Chavez said. "It's a big challenge."

The high school district, with campuses in Merced, Atwater and Livingston, has 448 teachers and 388 classified or support employees.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or

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