Plutko was offered $240,000 in annual salary for the first academic year. His salary is expected to increase by $10,000 in the next two academic years, provided he receives a satisfactory evaluation, according to his contract, which was obtained by the Independent.
"To be superintendent for Huntington Beach Union and to work with the tradition of that district is very exciting for me," Plutko said. "The reputation of the district is just outstanding in every way. That's something that didn't happen overnight. It's something that happened over many, many years with dedication from staff, students and parents."
The district's former superintendent, Van Riley, retired in December. The district then hired Duane Dishno to serve in the interim position from January to the end of June, Henry said.
Plutko was selected for his experience, attitude and leadership skills based on a profile that was put together by the board and a hiring agency, Leadership Associates, which helped the district search for a superintendent, Henry said.
Although the district has been focusing on improving its facilities for the past few years, it is getting ready to shift its focus to curriculum, which is something Plutko is expected to lead, Henry said.
"We've really been focusing on facilities for the last few years, so now we really need to turn our attention to what's inside the schools: the students and teaching," Henry said.
Plutko said his starting point will be familiarizing himself with the district, its staff, students and culture.
"The first part is to get to know the school, the community and the people that have made the district what it is today," he said.
Plutko received a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in educational administration from Azusa Pacific University. He also earned an educational doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of La Verne.
He has taught history, English and geography, coached basketball, served as director of staff development and technology, and worked as a principal and assistant principal, according to the district.