After serving 11 years as Associate Superintendent of Business Services and Technology for the MVLA district, Joe White announced his retirement at the January 28 board meeting, effective at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Mike Mathiesen, who is currently an assistant principal at Mountain View High School, will be White’s replacement.
“I’m old,” White said. “I’m 66. I’ve been in the district for 11 years and it’s my time. I’ve got a lot of things planned to do.”
One of the top activities on his list is taking a “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” tour of the United States to visit the places that the host of the show, Guy Fieri, has featured. On the roadtrip, White also plans to see his family.
“We’re going to drive around in a car,” White said. “I’ve got relatives all over, so we’re going to see some of those people, stay in hotels and take a tour of monuments and hall of fames…[and] see the New York skyline and go walk the Freedom Trail in Boston.”
White’s goals for retirement include pursuing hobbies such as golf and gardening.
“I plan on refining my golf game and working on my garden, which I have been postponing for the past five years,” White said.
Though White looks forward to his newfound freedom, he credits the supportive administrative district staff for creating good memories of his years as Associate Superintendent.
“The administrative staff here …has been an absolutely fabulous group to work with over the years,” White said. “They’ve made it enjoyable for me to come to work everyday.”
When White retires, he will pass on his summer projects to his successor, Mike Mathiesen. These include the renovations of the athletic fields, the expansion of snack bars, and the addition of more storage facilities and bathrooms.
“We have had growing number of students and sports, so it is to help with that side of our growing population,” White said.
In terms of the transition from White to Mathiesen, White anticipates that there will be a lot communication to iron out plans for the next few years.
“We’re going to be having a lot of conversations on how I look into the future for keeping the district financially healthy,” White said. “It’s nice to have an idea on what was done in the past and be able to improve on that. And that’ll take time.”
Mathiesen will also be learning as he settles into his new position.
“I’ll be attending a couple of statewide workshops related to business office [and] business officials,” Mathisen said. “I am sure there will be a lot of joint meetings [for me] to be brought up to speed in terms of the practices and what we do at this district here.”
Yet Mathiesen also has a set of credentials to aid him in his transition. He taught economics at Mountain View High School for seven years before becoming an assistant principal six years ago. In the past year, the district nominated Mathiesen to participate in the Chief of Business Official Mentor Program, which identifies and trains potential business officers. In addition to this training, Mathiesen was also on the District Technology Committee and as a result possesses a nuanced understanding of how to use and integrate technology within educational settings.
“[The Chief of Business Official Mentor Program] has been a huge kind of background in terms of training and educational topics,” Mathiesen said. “I did it because I grew more and more interested in the role of the Business Officer…I said, ‘Hey, here’s an opportunity to advance my own skills and expertise, and to put myself in a position where when…Mr. White retired, I would be in consideration for the place.’”
With a background in both business and technology, White believes that Mathiesen has all the advantages for a smooth transition.
“So he has a knowledge base in those two areas,” White said. “Now that [Mathiesen is taking] over technology on July 1, his expertise on being able to work with staff and administrators on the various electronic devices infrastructure at MVHS will [make it] very easy for him to continue that on and improve it in the future.”
Looking back, White considers the construction of the new classrooms and the 2003-2004 renovation of the athletic fields to be his two biggest achievements over the course of his career. Looking forward, he hopes for the district office to maintain its financial stability.
“The main thing to be done in this office is continue to keep the district financially sound so that we will always have sufficient money to be able to enhance the instruction for students that will be coming in the future,” White said. “That’s our most important mission.”
For Mathiesen, his new position marks a new beginning, one which he anticipates eagerly for its opportunity to make an impact on a district-wide scale.
“I’m looking forward to working with all the schools in the district,” Mathiesen said. “Since I’m an administrator I get to work primarily just with Mountain View staff and students, limited cross-district. So I’m excited about having the impact on the district-wide level.”
Mathiesen also looks forward to the challenges that come with being in the leadership position.
“When I went from teacher to Assistant Principal, I missed the classroom but I enjoyed the challenge of being involved in leadership and decision making on a schoolwide level,” Mathiesen said. “I see this as very similar. I’m moving from the school site to the district office, and being able to have a kind of larger impact for the good of students and the good of staff.”
Echoing White, Mathiesen maintains that his main mission is to keep the district in good financial shape.
“The biggest goal [for us is to] maintain the strong financial position we’ve been in so that we can provide the best position for students, classroom programs, athletic programs, co-curricular stuff and performing arts” Mathiesen said. “When a district is solid financially, that…[affects] the support of the students and their education.”