Former San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Mehl Dies at 76

Redwood City, CA–The San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) announces with great sadness that former San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Mehl passed away on Saturday, May 4, 2019, after a brief illness.

Dr. Mehl began his career with San Mateo County public schools in 1973 as the Principal of Cabrillo Unified's Hatch Elementary School in Half Moon Bay. He held a variety of leadership positions in the Cabrillo Unified School District, including Interim Superintendent. He later served as the Superintendent of the San Bruno Park Elementary School District. In 1991, Dr. Mehl joined the County Office of Education as Associate Superintendent of Student Services. In 2002, he was elected San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, a role he held until December 2005.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Dr. Mehl is remembered by staff for his friendliness–he always had a kind word for everyone. That warmth and friendliness expanded beyond San Mateo County. SMCOE staff remember how Dr. Mehl happened to meet a school principal from England who was vacationing in the United States with his family. A friendship developed between the families, and the two men created an informal exchange program for American and English educators that continued on for many years. 

Dr. Mehl’s daughter Michelle Graham, who taught in the San Mateo-Foster City School District and is an administrator at Redemeer Lutheran School in Redwood City, carries on his legacy of a career dedicated to education. His daughter Heather Ledesma, a budget analyst in the San Mateo County Manager’s Office, also carries on Dr. Mehl’s commitment to San Mateo County. The SMCOE community extends our heartfelt condolences to the Mehl family, especially to John’s wife Marcia, who is a retired teacher from the Las Lomitas Elementary School District.


The San Mateo County Office of Education is committed to ensuring excellence and equity in education by inspiring students, investing in teachers, invigorating leaders, and involving communities.

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