GUSTINE - School board members on Aug. 14 unanimously approved a one-year contract extension for Dr. Bryan Ballenger, who has been the Gustine Unified superintendent since March 2018.

The extension puts Ballenger under contract through June 2022.

Ballenger said he received a 2.5 percent pay increase as part of the extension, boosting his annual salary to $152,893.

Board President Kevin Cordeiro said the agreement reflects the board’s faith in Ballenger and the leadership strides shown by the district’s top administrative team of the superintendent and assistant Lisa Filippini.

“I feel we have a good leadership team in place. I’ve been very pleased with the direction we are going,” Cordeiro commented.

Cordeiro stressed the importance of stability and consistency in administration, and said he believes the district has achieved that under Ballenger’s leadership.

Providing stability has been a priority,

Ballenger said.

“The biggest thing moving forward for us is stability in leadership....and in site leaders and teachers, and all of us working toward one goal,” he commented. “That happens when there is belief in what you are doing. We are working toward building that culture.”

Ballenger said he believes the district is well-positioned to make positive strides.

“We have a good foundation. Everything is there to make a positive difference,” he commented. “We have great people, great employees and parents, and truly wonderful students. We are in a place where we are ready to start improving. I think we are at the cusp of being able to break out and do something special for our students and our community.”