SANTA CLARA -- Bobbie Plough, superintendent of the Santa Clara Unified School District, has announced that she will retire June 28 after what will be only two years on the job.

Plough, 58, said she's decided to retire for personal reasons. When she took the top job in 2011, she had intended to stay for three to five years. "I've had some family things, and personal issues made me decide to do this a bit earlier," she said Tuesday.

During her tenure, the district passed its first-ever parcel tax. She also has shepherded the district through some of its tightest budgets in history.

"Dr. Plough's leadership, experience and knowledge quickly captured the hearts of our community and the people she served," Santa Clara Unified trustee Andrew Ratermann said. "Her integrity and the quality of her character distinguish her as one of our premier leaders."

Plough said her decision was not related to the increasing acrimony on the school board. Political differences that have sometimes pitted board members against each other and also against teachers and other staff members have intensified in the past year. In November, a new board majority was elected, replacing longtime trustees and likely portending a different agenda.


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Plough, who started out teaching social studies in high school and middle school in Southern California, also served as a principal and district administrator. She headed the Romoland School District in Riverside County, then became superintendent of the Natomas Unified School District near Sacramento.

She became the first woman ever to head the 165-year-old Santa Clara Unified, which serves 15,000 students.

When she was hired, the Santa Clara school board credited her with "increasing financial stability, raising student achievement, and revitalizing relations with all labor groups," in the Natomas district.

Plough said that with work under way on revising curriculum, testing, teaching strategies and training, she believes the district is well prepared to put in place the "common core" curriculum standards that soon will be enforced in California and also across the nation.

"I have loved my time in Santa Clara," she said.

Contact Sharon Noguchi at 408-271-3775. Follow her at Twitter.com/NoguchiOnK12.