Encinitas employees hail proposal to appoint in-house candidate as superintendent

Andree Grey, seen here when she worked as an administrator at Temecula Valley Union School District, is the choice to lead the Encinitas Union School District.
(Don Boomer)

Andree Grey, Encinitas Union School District’s assistant superintendent of educational services, is an absolutely awesome choice to replace retiring superintendent Tim Baird, a half-dozen principals and teachers told the school board Monday night, April 29.

“We could search the world over and I don’t think we could find a better candidate,” said Ashley Tarquin, a teacher on special assignment who has been working with Grey recently.

Tarquin told the board members that she literally cried when she heard last week that they were planning to appoint Grey as the district’s next superintendent, saying she will miss working directly with her so much. Everyone she’s talked to in the days since then has had nothing but praise for the proposal to appoint Grey as superintendent, she added.

She wasn’t the only one who strongly urged the board Monday to push forward with its proposal, which was announced April 23 and is expected to be finalized May 7. All six of the people who spoke to the board, including principals from four of the district’s schools, declared their wholehearted support for the plan.

Chris Juarez, Flora Vista’s principal, said Grey is an excellent listener who is beloved by his teachers, while El Camino Creek Principal Jodi Greenberger called her an “incredible asset to our district,” and Park Dale Lane Principal Erin Terry said she was “very excited” to work with Grey in her new role.

“Any school district would count themselves lucky to have Andree Grey as their superintendent,” Ocean Knoll Principal Jennifer Bond said.

School board President Emily Andrade told them that when the board interviewed Grey for the job last week, “We, as a board, were equally impressed.”

The board is collecting comments about its in-house hiring proposal through a link on the homepage of the district’s web site .

So far, the board has received three pages of responses and all but three of the comments were positive, Andrade said. Those who were opposed said they thought the district should do a traditional national search for a superintendent rather than simply picking someone in-house, she added.

However, she said, a traditional superintendent search would cost a minimum of $25,000, and she’s been told by a search company representative that it’s pointless and damaging to do such a search, if the board already is keenly interested in an in-house candidate, she said.

Baird, a former Ojai Unified School District superintendent, was hired out of a pool of 26 candidates as Encinitas Union’s superintendent in 2009.

Grey has served as Encinitas Union’s assistant superintendent of educational services for three years. She previously worked for 20 years in the Temecula Valley Unified School District, and was that district’s director of curriculum and instruction when she took the job in Encinitas. Prior to being curriculum director, she served as principal of Temecula Luiseno Elementary and Pauba Valley Elementary.

She has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and a master’s degree from California State University, San Marcos. She’s currently pursuing a doctorate in education from the University of California, San Diego.

Speaking to a reporter after the board concluded its public session, Grey said she was excited by the new job opportunity and very pleased to be in Encinitas.

“I cannot imagine being anywhere else,” she said.

— Barbara Henry is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune