The Santa Clara County Board of Education early Thursday named Mary Ann Dewan as interim superintendent of the County Office of Education, effective Friday.

Superintendent Xavier De La Torre's last day on the job is also Friday, board President Leon Beauchman said.

Dewan, 47, joined the County Office October, serving as the chief schools officer overseeing programs such as alternative education Head Start, special education, preschools and migrant education.

She previously was executive director of a County Office equivalent, the Central Indiana Educational Service Center, which provided services to 22 school districts and operated statewide programs.

"I'm very humbled to be asked to serve as interim superintendent, and I'm honored to do this work," Dewan said Thursday. She called the County Office "a wonderful place to work."

Beauchman said the board selected Dewan in a closed session, part of a nearly eight-hour meeting that began Wednesday evening. "She's capable. She works well with the other folks on the staff," he said. "She has a good relationship with the board."

De La Torre, 50, said he will begin his new job on Monday as superintendent of the Ysleta Independent School District. It is near the Socorro Independent School District which he led before joining the County Office in July 2012.

"I feel blessed that folks in El Paso who remember my work in Socorro were excited to have me back," he said. "There is a climate and culture of respect and acknowledgment in the Ysleta Independent School District."

He said he was happy to return to working with students, teachers and families.

Ever since he was named the sole finalist for the Ysleta job on Feb. 12, speculation at the County Office had been rife about a transition plan. Just a few days ago, Beauchman had a letter from De La Torre that indicated he would leave on March 31.

Yet this week, Ysleta listed him as superintendent on its website.

"We're all excited," said Patricia Torres McLean, president of the Ysleta board of trustees. "We look forward to his leadership and what he can bring to Ysleta."

Early Thursday, however, she still did not know when De La Torre would be starting in El Paso, adding that it depended on whenever the Santa Clara County Board of Education released him from his contract.

Her board chose De La Torre from about a half dozen applicants because of his track record in Socorro -- helping pass a school bond. It also twice was a finalist for the $1 million Broad Prize for urban school districts that boost academic achievement, particularly among poor and minority students.

He will earn a base of $289,200, plus $10,800 in auto and phone allowances in Ysleta.

Torres McLean said that in considering De La Torre, the board did not contact the Santa Clara County Board of Education.

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