Retired SMJUHSD Superintendent Has Passed Away

Retired SMJUHSD Superintendent Has Passed Away

From the SMJUHSD:

November 16, 2021
Former Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Superintendent, Dr. Mark Richardson, passed away on Monday, Nov. 15.

Dr. Richardson began his career at the SMJUHSD in September of 2012 and retired in June of 2019 after seven years of service. He was the driving force behind creating the Career Technical Education Center & Agricultural Farm, passage Measure H 2016 and countless other programs and infrastructure that benefitted youth and the community.

“As a friend and colleague of Mark for over 30 years, his unexpected passing hits very hard,’’ said John Davis, SMJUHSD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. “Mark brought
passion, humor and professionalism to everything he did and he shared those gifts generously with all that worked with him. His impact on this district and community were profound and we were indeed fortunate to have benefited from his leadership during the seven years he served the SMJUHSD.”

SMJUHSD School Board President, Dr. Jack Garvin, described Dr. Richardson as a “Pioneer.” “Mark gave the high school district extensive leadership in both academics and Career Technical Education during his seven years as our Superintendent,’’ Garvin added. “His crowning gift to Santa Maria was the recently dedicated Career Technical Education Center and Agricultural Farm.
Without his personal commitment and vision of the future for all our students, this center would not have been developed. Mark left a true legacy for future generations.’’

SMJUHSD School Board Member Carol Karamitsos agreed. “Mark Richardson joined our community in 2012 and dove headlong into a near decade of service,’’ Karamitsos said. “He lived every day with purpose: he worked for the embetterment of the world, loving and caring for others. Dr. Richardson, the superintendent, investigated and analyzed the school district entrusted to him. During his tenure, he led the SMJUHSD through transformative change that elevated the opportunities for our students, their families, and staff, most importantly by raising expectations for graduating students that are college and/or career ready. The Board appreciated his enthusiastic and courageous leadership—his ability to see the process both in detail and in entirety.
Mark, the man, was an adoring family man and a generous friend. We mourn the premature passing of our faithful leader.’’

He served 31 years in education including seven years as Superintendent of the SMJUHSD and prior to that, four years as Superintendent of the Taft Union High School District. In addition, he held a variety of administrative, teaching and coaching positions in the Kern High School District. He had the idea of a career in public service instilled at an early age by his father, Steve, an industrial arts teacher, and his mother, Pat, a nurse.

Dr. Richardson had worked in education since 1988 and as a public education administrator since 1995. He earned his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from University of La Verne in 2007, his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from California Lutheran University in 1992 and received a Bachelor’s Degree in History at UC Berkeley in 1985. Before Dr. Richardson retired, he stated, “The district is on the right path. We have an effective board, excellent leadership, and a committed staff. We are in a great position moving forward. I want to thank everyone for making my time here worthwhile.’’

Dr. Richardson is survived by his wife, Kelly, and two sons, Vaughn and Val, and a daughter, Sherah. Funeral/memorial services are pending.

SMJUHSD Media Contact: Public Information Officer Kenny Klein
805-709-1454 or [email protected]