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Roland Maier has been named executive director of First 5 Kern effective April 1.

First 5 Kern has named Roland Maier its next executive director, the tobacco-tax spending agency announced Thursday.

Maier begins his new role April 1. He replaces Jamie Henderson, who will retire later this month.

Maier has a long history of advocating for Kern County children, the agency said in a news release. He's served on the First 5 Kern board -- also known as the Kern County Children and Families Commission -- and been an educator for more than 25 years, including as a teacher, vice principal, principal and director in Bakersfield, Taft, Wasco and Arvin. He's served the last three years as superintendent of the Cuyama Joint Unified School District.

"We are pleased to have Roland's experience as a teacher, administrator and First 5 Kern commissioner. His background is extremely valuable and will allow for a seamless transition as executive director of First 5 Kern," commission Chairman Larry Rhoades said in the news release.

Maier will earn a base salary of $113,540 a year, a $600 car allowance per month plus health benefits, according to the agency. Henderson is paid about $126,000 a year, plus receives a $595-a-month car allowance, he has said.

"First 5 has always been a strong advocate for children and their families in Kern County," Maier said in the release. "I want to continue to work with all 40 of our service providers and the myriad agencies involved at the local, regional, state and national levels. I am truly excited to be a part of such a dynamic and successful organization."

First 5 Kern was established after passage of Proposition 10 in 1998 to spend the county's share of revenue from a 50-cent tax on tobacco products. Kern's share is about $10 million a year; it's spent on programs that aid the development of children age 0 to 5.