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San Diego Unified School District starts superintendent search with community meetings

Richard Barrera, president of the San Diego Unified school board
Richard Barrera, president of the San Diego Unified School District board, says the goal of the district’s superintendent recruitment and selection process “is not simply to choose the next outstanding leader for our schools but to truly engage the entire city — every community — about the future of San Diego Unified.”
(Sam Hodgson / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

A Zoom meeting for the Point Loma, Mission Bay and La Jolla clusters will be held Friday, July 30, to help formulate ‘Vision 2030' and set goals for the new district leader.

The San Diego Unified School District is beginning a series of 30 town hall meetings to help it search for a new superintendent while shaping a vision for the district. An online session is set for the La Jolla, Mission Bay and Point Loma clusters from 10 a.m. to noon Friday, July 30.

The district said its superintendent recruitment and selection process will include community meetings and other opportunities for public input.

“The goal is not simply to choose the next outstanding leader for our schools but to truly engage the entire city — every community — about the future of San Diego Unified,” said district board President Richard Barrera.

The town halls will gather feedback that will dictate what qualities the search committee will look for in a new superintendent, said Janice Case, California state director for the National Center on Education and the Economy.

The center, which is working with the district, will compile and summarize input from the town hall meetings and share it with the 48-member superintendent advisory committee.

The district started its visioning process in 2009, coining it Vision 2020, as a way to identify the needs of the community and how to best approach them, said Monika Hazel, Area 4 superintendent.

The district began its Vision 2030 process in November 2019, leaning on the center’s research called “9 Building Blocks for a World-Class Education System,” which examines some of the world’s best education systems.

Hazel said the goal of Vision 2030 is to put San Diego Unified at the top of the list of high-performing districts.

Part of Vision 2030 includes about 30 two-hour community town hall sessions from July to September. The first five meetings will be held virtually.

“We are inviting everyone in this community who cares about public education to participate in our series of public input sessions and to share with us their vision for great public schools and the qualities they would like to see in a superintendent to lead us toward that vision,” Barrera said.

The board appointed San Diego Unified educator Lamont Jackson as interim superintendent through Dec. 31 after former Superintendent Cindy Marten was named deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

The superintendent advisory committee will screen applications and recommend about 10 candidates to be interviewed by the school board. Following those interviews, the board will select three final candidates.

Community forums will be held to provide feedback, and the board will appoint a permanent superintendent in December.

The first five town hall meetings, including the July 30 session for Point Loma, Mission Bay and La Jolla, will be online via Zoom. The meeting ID number for all of them is 835 0396 1572 and the passcode is 757316.


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