Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District interim superintendent Michael Matthews has accepted a position with Extreme Learning.

Extreme Learning is a San Francisco-based firm that develops after-school programming for Title I Schools that have been placed in Program Improvement.

Matthews has been named vice president of the newly formed Los Angeles office branch and will be in charge of bringing Extreme Learning programs to Los Angeles County schools.

“I look forward to learning instructional techniques and strategies that can be directly applied to children in districts like ours that are truly committed to closing the achievement gap,” he said.

“Although it is difficult to leave the district after 13 years, I will always be grateful for the commitment and compassion to our children that I have seen from all district employees.

“I will always treasure the professional relationships that I have enjoyed throughout my tenure at SMMUSD,” Matthews said.

In 1993, Matthews joined the district as principal of the newly created Malibu High School.

He is credited with helping the high school attain academic achievements and continue to be named a California Distinguished School.

Following 11 years at Malibu High School, Matthews was recruited by then-superintendent John Deasy to serve as the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources.

Following Deasy’s departure from the district this year, the board of education named Matthews interim superintendent.

“Dr. Matthews has served as an exceptional leader in our district and we are profoundly saddened by his departure,” said board vice president Kathy Wisnicki.

“We are extremely grateful for his years of dedication to SMMUSD and his extraordinary accomplishments both at Malibu High School and as an intregral part of the leadership team.

“This new and exciting endeavor will provide opportunities for him to grow professionally and broaden his knowledge in educational reform,” Wisnicki said.

Wisnicki, who represents Malibu on the board of education, said she has known Matthews for many years and considers him to be a friend.

“We will miss his leadership greatly but understand that this is an opportunity for him to embark upon an exciting new career path,” said board president Julia Brownley.

Matthews will continue as interim superintendent through July and will facilitate the transition with the new superintendent in August.

The board of education is conducting its final round of interviews and hopes to select a finalist within the next few weeks.

Board members “unanimously wish Dr. Matthews success in his new position,” they said.