David Cash was named Santa Barbara schools' superintendent Wednesday, barely a month after announcing he was retiring as Clovis Unified's superintendent because of the deaths of three close friends and wanting to spend more time with his family.
Cash, who has moved to Monterey but was still being paid by Clovis Unified as a consultant through the end of his contract in July, said he was asked to apply for the Santa Barbara post and a handful of other superintendent jobs.
Santa Barbara's "was the only [superintendent's] job I would consider," he said. "It really came down to a place where I wanted to be. I know many of the staff, and it would not have been smart to not talk to them."
Cash's appointment was announced Wednesday by the five-member board of education. His first day in Santa Barbara is July 1.
Clovis Unified was paying Cash $232,000 annually, and his contract was supposed to expire July 31. Cash said Wednesday that his contract will now expire June 30.
Clovis school board President Ginny Hovsepian said she was not aware that Cash's contract would be shortened by one month.
He will earn $209,000 as Santa Barbara's schools chief. The Santa Barbara districts, which have about two dozen schools and 15,700 students, will join to become the Santa Barbara Unified School District on July 1.
Cash was among 58 applicants from across the nation, according to Santa Barbara officials.
The Santa Barbara district used a search firm to find candidates and set an April 30 application deadline. But the district continued accepting applications after the deadline, said Barbara Keyani, district spokeswoman.
She said Cash applied after the deadline and was interviewed the week before Memorial Day.
While still superintendent in Clovis, Cash said, he was approached about applying for the Santa Barbara job but refused.
Cash then announced his retirement from Clovis on May 6. He said that when a Santa Barbara school official urged him to reconsider, he applied there.
He said the Santa Barbara job "truly was not a factor in my retirement."
The new job is ideal, Cash said, because he spent much of his early educational career in the Santa Barbara area and his family has close ties to the area.
Cash's wife, Heather, is from Santa Barbara, her parents still live there, and his two children were born there.
Cash, 55, should be "a great fit" in Santa Barbara, Hovsepian said.
"Since he has been in that district before, he probably has a really great feel for that culture, which will help him be successful," Hovsepian said. "I know Dave and Heather are probably going to love being back on the coast."
The Clovis school board has not yet begun its superintendent search. In May, associate superintendent Steve Ward was named interim superintendent.
Cash came to the 38,000-student Clovis district after three years as superintendent in the Claremont Unified School District in Los Angeles County in 2009. Claremont has about 7,000 students.
He worked in the Santa Barbara district as principal of Dos Pueblos High School in 1999-2004 and principal of Goleta Valley Junior High School in 1995-99. He also worked as principal/superintendent in the small Buellton Union School District for three years and was special education administrator for the Santa Barbara Special Education Local Plan Area. Before that, he was a teacher at Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara.