Stephen Hodgson has filled the role of interim chief financial officer (CFO) for Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), replacing Winston Braham, who resigned in November. Hodgson’s first day of work was Thursday, January 25th.

The district had gone for about two months without a CFO/assistant superintendent of fiscal and business services, and Hodgson will take over as interim CFO until June 30th, when a permanent replacement is expected to come on board.

Superintendent Dianne Talarico has signed a contract with School Services of California to search for a permanent CFO for the district.

Hodgson, who has a Doctor of Education degree, comes to the district from Pasadena Unified School District, where he is concluding his current position as interim CFO, district officials say.

He will continue to provide some consultancy to Pasadena until that district’s newly identified assistant superintendent is hired.

As interim CFO, Hodgson will manage the district’s financial affairs and staff. His office will “provide oversight, direction, and support to the day-to-day operations of SMMUSD’s transportation, maintenance, and operations, business, fiscal, food services and technology departments,” said district officials.

Hodgson will take the district through 2007-08 budget documents and the initial development and layout of the proposed budget.

“We are moving into budget creation mode, so we begin the initial phase for planning for the budget for June 30th, and Dr. Hodgson will obviously guide us through this process, which he has done many, many times before, so we’re very lucky to have been able to secure him as a consultant,” said deputy superintendent Tim Walker.

School board president Kathy Wisnicki said she agrees and is looking forward to working with Hodgson.

“The most important thing is, as we enter our budget planning cycle, that we have someone who has the big picture, who can look at all the departmental budgets,” said Wisnicki. “And I think Dr. Hodgson will bring a lot of experience to that and will get us through until we actually hire someone permanent for this position. He comes very highly recommended.”

Walker said that he’s happy to see the addition of another senior cabinet member, a “welcomed relief,” for better distribution of duties and assignments.

“Dr. Hodgson has extensive experience as a CFO and an impeccable reputation,” said Talarico. “A person of his caliber will be a great compliment to the district’s dedicated financial team. I feel confident going to Dr. Hodgson with the district’s financial questions.”

For 15 years, Hodgson served as the chief business financial officer for the Glendale Unified School District.

Walker said he worked for Hodgson when they were both at the Glendale district, “so our relationship picks up from the

join us int in the school year is great for the district.”

Hodgson is also an adjunct professor at California State University at Los Angeles and Northridge.

Hodgson is married and has two grown children.

As is standard procedure, the school board must approve Hodgson’s contact with the district at the boards meeting Thursday, February 1st. Hodgson’s contract is not to exceed $125,000, according to the district.

“I believe the board will be impressed with his due diligence, the skill level that he brings, his problem solving abilities and his attention to detail,” said Walker of Hodgson.

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