San Francisco Unified School District officials announced Thursday that Matt Wayne, the current superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District, is the sole finalist to lead SFUSD in the same role.

Pending approval by the district’s Board of Education at a May 24 meeting, Wayne will take over as of July 1 for current SFUSD superintendent Vincent Matthews, who last July announced plans to retire but decided to stay for another year to assist with the district’s transition from distance learning back to in-person classes.

It has been a rocky school year for SFUSD, which saw three school board members removed via recall, a “sleep in” by teachers who said many district staff members went unpaid or partially paid for months due to a problem with a new payroll system, and ongoing budget issues and impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking over as the top administrator for the district is Wayne, who has served for the last six years as superintendent of the Hayward school district. Prior to working in Hayward, he was an executive director of elementary schools in SFUSD for two years. He has also worked as a teacher in New York City and as a principal in San Pablo.

“Given his strong leadership experience, his knowledge of SFUSD and California, and his collaborative leadership style, Dr. Wayne comes to us ready to lead SFUSD during these times of incredible challenges and opportunities,” school board president Jenny Lam said.

Wayne, who earned his undergraduate degree in rhetoric and doctorate in educational leadership both from University of California at Berkeley and a master’s degree from Columbia University, was selected among more than 60 people who applied for the position and five who interviewed with the Board of Education.

He said in a statement that he is looking forward to serving “in such a vibrant district committed to educational equity and excellence. We face significant challenges, but I know the San Francisco community is ready to work together to do right by our students.”