COSTA MESA — The Newport-Mesa Unified school board named former Supt. Rob Barbot as interim superintendent Wednesday.
After a closed-door meeting, school board President Dave Brooks announced the hiring of Barbot, who served as the school district's top administrator for eight years before retiring in June 2006.
When Barbot will take over the position hasn't been determined, but he will lead the district through July 31, trustees said.
"I feel just excellent about the decision," Brooks said after the meeting. "He brings several things to this district. First of all, he is familiar with the district setup. He's very, very knowledge about this district.
"He's not someone that has to come in for weeks to get updated on what's going on. He can come in and do the work that needs to done here."
The district has been without its top leader since former Supt. Jeffrey Hubbard was fired Jan. 23 after being convicted of two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds related to his previous job as head of the Beverly Hills Unified School District.
The district's legal counsel is working on a contract for Barbot at $960 a day, as well as a housing allowance. He lives in Northern California.
The board discussed the decision in closed session for nearly three and a half hours over two days — it was one of the board's best sessions, Trustee Katrina Foley said.
"I think Dr. Barbot has a lot of respect in the community both internally within the district and at large," she said. "He has a lot of respect, and that's something I feel is very important at this time, and he's willing to take the job. I think he will be a good asset for us as we continue to move forward."
The board's decision brought a cheer from classified employees' union President Cindy Means.
"I am very excited," Means said. "He helped rebuild the community and employee support, and I'm ecstatic — beyond words."
Deputy Supt. and Chief Business Official Paul Reed is acting superintendent until Barbot begins.
The school board, with the help of Barbot, is looking to find a permanent superintendent by July 1.