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Siegel to fill Hanline's shoes in 2010
Scott Siegel, 42, was tapped to replace Ceres Unified School when District Superintendent Walt Hanline retires in 2010.

On Thursday night, the Ceres School Board approved a four-year employment contract with Siegel, effective July 1. The vote was unanimous.

Siegel will fill outgoing deputy superintendent Sallie Kjellberg's position for two years until Hanline retires.

Siegel's career has been in a steady ascent since his arrival to Ceres Unified School District in 1989. He served as a math and science teacher, assistant principal and principal at Ceres High School. Siegel has managed CUSD's Business Services Division for six years.

"When I started, I never would have seen that," Siegel said when asked about his rise through the ranks.

Added board president Betty Davis: "Scott has a personal attachment to this district-our students, our staff and our community. His knowledge of curriculum, personnel management, school facilities, budgets and business will enable him to be a leader in all of these areas. Scott has a clear commitment to doing what's best for students while fostering relationships within the district."

Said Hanline: "I'm very pleased with the choice. I think he'll do an outstanding job. He has gifts that are significant. He's going to be one of the best superintendents in the state within the next five years. Someday, he may be the best."

The board considered several CUSD employees during the recruitment process.

"There's no monetary saving I can see derived by promoting from within," Hanline said. "It's just a matter of you have a better knowledge of what the person can do. I'd put our leaders against any other district's in this state. There's some real talent in our district."

"There's a lot of positives going inside if you have qualified people," board trustee Mike Welsh said. "It's a wise business practice. We want to have a smooth transition."

Hanline, 56, said he'll be retiring so he can spend more time with his family. He's been a superintendent for 27 years, the last seven with CUSD.

Siegel will work alongside Hanline for two years before being promoted to superintendent.

"My job is to give Scott the benefits of my scars and experience," Hanline said. "Year one, he'll learn about the board, governance and mechanical functions of superintendency. The second year, he'll take on decision making and more and more of the work. I think Scott will build on the foundation blocks that we have laid. He'll do it in his own unique style."

CUSD has opened six new schools and modernized existing facilities during Scott's tenure as assistant superintendent.