By the end of the day Jan. 7, Hollister School District’s new superintendent Diego Ochoa had already introduced himself to the community with a meet-and-greet at the district office.
By the end of the day Jan. 8, Ochoa—who emerged as the sole finalist among a pool of nearly 50 candidates identified by a search firm—had his contract officially ratified by the district’s school board.
The five-member board announced the hiring late last month.
“President Stephen Kain is pleased to announce that Diego Ochoa is the sole finalist for the superintendent position,” the Dec. 26 release states.
Board President Stephen Kain said, “In my more than 30 years of education, I have never met a more qualified person than Mr. Diego Ochoa for the job of superintendent of the Hollister School District. I give him my 100 percent support, and I am confident that he will be one of the finest superintendents the Hollister School District has ever had.”
Ochoa is an experienced bilingual educator with 20 years of service as a special education teacher, principal and superintendent.
“I am deeply connected to public education. My wife and I are both educators, as are all of my siblings,” Ochoa said. “As the new superintendent, I will be committed to prioritizing equity and excellence for all students in the Hollister School District. I believe that all children in the Hollister School District can achieve their goals with the collaborative support of teachers, administrators and staff.”
Ochoa expects to spend his first few months on the job speaking with parents, visiting schools to get to know students, establishing relationships with the San Benito County Office of Education and meeting every member of the staff of the preK-8 district.
Ochoa plans to focus on two of the district’s greatest areas of need, namely improving special education services and overall student learning.
“My goals as superintendent will include addressing educational programs and providing strong educational leadership to the district and community,” he said.
Ochoa will oversee the nearly 6,000-student district and is expected to begin his role in February, according to the board. His contract is set for three years with a $209,000 annual salary.
During the four-month superintendent search process, district staff gathered input from more than 200 community members regarding the qualities they’d like to see in the next superintendent. Those qualities include collaborative leadership, knowledge of special education, a commitment to staying in Hollister and cultural competence.
Ochoa said, “I chose to apply to the Hollister School District because the goals of the district align with who I am as a leader.”