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Courtenay Edelhart / The Californian

Berkshire Elementary School is in the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District.

The Panama-Buena Vista Union School District has tentatively chosen Standard School District Superintendent Kevin Silberberg to take over the position being vacated by retiring Superintendent Kip Hearron.

Silberberg has led Standard, a much smaller district in Oildale, for the last six years.

"Panama has always been one of the premier districts in Bakersfield," he said. "They have a lot of challenges that I find appealing, but they've always had really good leadership, and I'm excited about the district's plans and the direction that the board would like to go."

Silberberg, 54, lives in the district, and all three of his now-grown children went through Panama schools before moving to San Diego.

Panama board president Keith Wolaridge issued a statement that the board "believes Dr. Silberberg offers the skills, style and professional experiences necessary to carry the district forward in its quest for continued excellence in education."

Silberberg takes over a very different district from the one he now leads.

Standard has four schools and 2,850 students, many of whom are from low-income households. Panama has 17,000 students at 24 schools, some of them in affluent areas.

"Kids are kids, and they have issues whatever side of town they live on," Silberberg said. "We try to do what we can to make life as good as it can be between the bells, but as much as we would like to take care of all the home issues, we can't."

Standard school board member Steve Ruettgers said the board was "saddened and a little shocked" by Silberberg's resignation and will likely retain consulting expertise as it searches for a replacement.

"We understand that these things happen, and we're happy for him," Ruettgers said. "We'll be fine. We have a history of hiring very good superintendents who stay with us longer than most districts, and he built a great staff while he was here."

Hearron is leaving Panama later this month. The Panama school board expects to confirm the appointment of Silberberg at its June 11 meeting. Silberberg would start his new job on July 1.