Newport-Mesa school officials will offer the top job in the district to Robert Barbot, superintendent of the 14,000-student Chico Unified School District, an official said Monday.
James M. Ferryman, president of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District board, and other trustees have been in Chico since Monday morning interviewing more than 35 members of the Chico school community about Barbot's seven-year tenure in the district, located nearly two hours northeast of Sacramento.
"We hear nothing but glowing reports," Ferryman said.
Barbot, 52, was selected from a nationwide pool of 51 applicants. He recently spearheaded passage of a $48-million bond referendum to upgrade two of the district's high schools and build another. He speaks Spanish fluently.
But Ferryman said those credentials are "a bonus." It was more personal qualities that made Barbot the finalist: "Integrity, honesty and trust are the kinds of things he exudes. . . . This guy is a real leader."
Barbot would replace Mac Bernd, who resigned in December to head the Arlington, Texas, Independent School District. Barbot is expected to earn about $120,000 a year.