Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NEWS RELEASE -- Statement from Dr. John Lee Evans, Board of Education President, on Superintendent Appointment

Statement regarding appointment of San Diego Unified Superintendent
John Lee Evans
President, San Diego Unified Board of Education
February 27, 2013


Yesterday Superintendent Kowba announced that he will retire at the end of his contract on June 30. As a former admiral, Mr. Kowba navigated the district through turbulent financial waters these past four years. He brought stability to this district and demonstrated great integrity. Under his leadership our schools made significant gains in student achievement. We have seen many great successes in our district over the past few years, but we realize that we still have a long way to our goal of a quality school in every neighborhood.

In our selection of a new Superintendent we first want a leader who is prepared to carry out the San Diego community based school reform model, Vision 2020, adopted by the board. What does this mean? We want a leader whose primary focus will be on raising achievement levels for all students in our district. We want someone who will focus on our return to schools that will meet the unique needs of each neighborhood. We want someone who will focus on effective teaching by providing support to teachers with meaningful evaluations that improve instruction. We want a servant leader who will demonstrate strong leadership and work collaboratively with district staff and the communities. We want a leader who will be tirelessly focused on the needs of children and will expect all adults to do the same.

We want an educator who is a visionary leader. We want someone who has respect from stakeholder groups with differing opinions. We want a leader who can assertively take San Diego Unified to the goals of Vision 2020.

We have found such a person in our own district. Cindy Marten has been an educator for 25 years. She started in the Poway School District and then came to San Diego to work at one of our most challenging schools in City Heights where she has been for 10 years. She started off as a teacher and then became the principal. Central Elementary serves 850 at-risk youth of which 99% live in poverty and 85% of the students are English Learners. She has delivered on the promise of a high quality neighborhood school in spite of all its challenges. She believes that a child should not have to leave his or her neighborhood for a quality education. She has worked hard for 10 years with a team of close to 100 staff members to make this dream a reality through their motto and driving vision they call "The Central Way: Work hard. Be kind. Dream big. No excuses."

This is clearly a non-traditional appointment. Each season has a need for a type of leader. It is time for us to bring in an educator who has demonstrated that schools even in the highest poverty neighborhoods can be turned around for success. We want this to happen across the district.

Ms. Marten has demonstrated that she can produce all of the results that we are looking for in Vision 2020 by collaborating closely with her staff. The Board is unanimous in its support of Ms. Marten and we are sure that in the coming months our teachers, our staff, our students and our community will unite behind Ms. Marten's leadership. This is a bold step forward for San Diego Unified to fulfill its mission of an excellent education for each and every student in our district.

Jack Brandais • Communications Department • San Diego Unified School District • (619) 725-5570 (desk) •
(619) 607-0477 (cell)
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