San Dieguito to begin search for next superintendent


The San Dieguito Union High School District board ratified the contract for Interim Superintendent Lucile Lynch and has began the process of looking for its next leader. At the May 20 board meeting, they approved a request for proposals for a superintendent search firm, due back by June 7.

SDUHSD Interim Superintendent Lucile Lynch
(Courtesy Wesley Lynch)

“I want our parents to know this district is going forward,” SDUHSD President Mo Muir said. “We’ve had a bad year but we are definitely coming out of it and we’ve chosen someone who’s going to take us there.”

Lynch is a former SDUHSD parent, a former assistant district attorney and businesswoman who created an educational products corporation and founded Beacons, Inc., a nonprofit that provides vocational training to bridge gaps to employment for adults with developmental disabilities. Lynch has been an education advocate throughout her children’s education and, in the San Dieguito district, advocated for special education reform and for a district aquatics facility as part of the pool committee.

Per the contract, Lynch will receive a daily rate of $1,100 and is expected to work a minimum of three to five days per week. The district will also continue to pay 12 months’ salary ($270,746) for former superintendent Robert Haley per the terms of his voluntary resignation.

“It’s been kind of an emotionally reactive year, my goal is to turn that temperature down as best I can,” Lynch said.

At the meeting, the board voted 4-1 vote in favor of Lynch’s contract with Trustee Katrina Young opposed. Young said her vote was not personal as she has known Lynch for a long time and admires all the work she has done—Young wanted to stay true to her original intent of what she wanted in a superintendent and the intent of California Education Code.

Per Ed Code, a superintendent must hold a valid school administration certificate and a valid teacher’s certificate. A governing board does have the option to waive any credential requirement, as the board did with past superintendent Eric Dill.

The board was complimentary of Lynch’s first weeks on the job—Muir said her presence has been a positive culture shift, one that demonstrated respect and accountability. She also helped organize a board budget workshop for the first time in four years. Although late in the budget process, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Tina Douglas gave a thorough discussion of the budget on May 20 as the board prepares to approve it next month—Lynch said one of her goals is providing board members with equal access to information.

As far as in-service training, Lynch said she is relying on the expertise of the ”excellent” executive cabinet, to learn about priorities and what is needed. Assistant Superintendent Bryan Marcus said right now the priorities are celebrating the end of the year with graduations, staffing wellness and getting ready to welcome students back full time in August.

“I’ve had conversations all throughout the district and one thing that was abundantly clear is that people needed to listen,” Lynch said. “If you’re not listening, you don’t know how to improve things and I don’t know that everyone felt they were being listened to.”

As the district prepared to issue the request for proposals for the superintendent search firm, speakers during public comment asked for the most transparent process possible.

“There must be a bridging and a healing for our community that will make us attractive to a superintendent with the credentials to be respected and successful in the number one best school district in San Diego County,” said parent Heather Dugdale. “The first step toward that is 100% public, transparent process with the inclusion of all stakeholders.”

With the search firms, the board will review all proposals and invite the selected respondents to participate in an interview process. When the board last went through this process in 2018, these interviews were conducted in open session.

Every search firm handles outreach in its own way but it typically involves online surveys and public input sessions to help shape the profile of the superintendent. In 2018, San Dieguito’s parent input sessions were lightly attended.

Muir said there were no complaints about the process used in 2018 and board members agreed with the need for a transparent search process.

“The most important job the board has is the hiring and evaluation of our superintendent so we need to take this very seriously,” Young said. “We are a very divided community, there is no sugarcoating that fact. The more we can do to let our community know that we’re doing everything possible to listen to them and to provide information to them, the better this process will go.”