Current director of operations at The Accelerated Schools in LA will take over position on July 1

By Mike Chaldu


After a long search, Santa Ynez Valley Union High School has found its new leader. Dr. Kimberly Sheehan will take over as superintendent/principal (now a combined position) starting with the 2024-25 school year.

The Santa Ynez Valley Union High School District Board announced at its Tuesday, April 16, meeting that Sheehan had agreed to a three-year contract to be the superintendent/principal. The board approved the contract by a 5-0 vote.

Before the vote, members of the board had praise for the incoming principal.

“I’m excited about this,” said Board President Chris Johnson. “I think the administration will move forward very well with Dr. Sheehan.”


“We had some amazing candidates and Kimberly knocked it out of the park,” said Board Member Sherri Noble. “She shows a wealth of experience and knowledge. I’m excited for this.”

After the vote, Sheehan came up to the podium and expressed her gratitude and eagerness to get started.

“I’m thrilled to be here; thanks to the school board,” she said. “Honored to work with already amazing established leadership team, and excited to work with the classified certificated staff, the parents, the community, and most importantly, the students. To ensure Santa Ynez and Refugio high schools can see the purpose, passion, and potential of each student.”

Johnson stated at the meeting that Sheehan has a three-year contract to run from July 1, 2024, to June 30, 2027, at a base salary of $220,000 annually.

Sheehan will be coming to SYHS from The Accelerated Schools, a group of charter campus in Los Angeles. Before that she was a leader in public education for over 20 years, with experience in elementary, middle, and high schools. After beginning her career in education as a high school English teacher and counselor, she went on to work as a principal of an elementary coding and dual language immersion school. 

Sheehan’s bio on the TAS website ( states, “She is passionate about educational access and is dedicated to implementing operations support to ensure all students reach their fullest academic and socioeconomic potential.”

Sheehan graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in communications and public relations. She also obtained her Master’s degree in pupil personnel and administrative leadership from Azusa Pacific University and was awarded her doctorate from USC Rossier and her dissertation study focused on equitable hiring practices.

Sheehan, a former softball player, is a proud mother of three, and enjoys rowing for exercise.