San Dieguito delays hiring of permanent superintendent


The San Dieguito Union High School District will not fill its superintendent position until next year.

At its June 10 meeting, the board resolved to delay hiring a permanent superintendent until after Dec. 31 and continue its superintendent search. The resolution wouldn’t preclude the board from taking a different action if a qualified candidate rose to the top before the end of the year.

The SDUHSD board discussed hiring a new superintendent at its June 10 meeting.
(Karen Billing)

In taking more time to find its new leader, the board cited factors such as the timing of its search and a lack of stability within the district, opting to “let things settle down” after what has been a challenging school year.

On April 29, the board appointed Lucile Lynch to serve as interim superintendent following the voluntary resignation of Robert Haley on April 27. In May, the board issued a request for proposals for a search firm to help find their next leader. By the June 7 deadline, they had only received three responses.

SDUHSD President Mo Muir said while she appreciated those that had applied, she was very disappointed in the low number they received. None of the board members were comfortable selecting one of the firms to move forward in the search that night.

During public comment, parent Heather Dugdale said the lack of proposals was indicative of the state of the district: “It gives me greater concern for our ability to attract a quality and qualified superintendent,” Dugdale said.

Dugdale said that while it’s not ideal to have an interim superintendent for a long period of time, she complimented Lynch for bringing an attention to detail, stability and professionalism to the position. During public comment, other parents remarked on Lynch’s efforts to promote transparency regarding legal issues discussed in closed session.

At the meeting, Lynch again stated her intention that hers be a short-term interim position only and encouraged the board to move forward in the search as the process can take awhile, suggesting a July 21 deadline for a revised search firm request for proposals. With the board’s action to delay, Lynch agreed to stay with the district through the end of the year.

Board member Katrina Young said that some of the instability in the district might be “scaring people off” and she said they could alleviate some fears by communicating that as interim superintendent, Lynch has been working to build bridges.

Regarding the “instability,” in addition to pandemic challenges that many school districts have faced, San Dieguito’s board is short one board member as they face a yet-to-be-scheduled special election for the Area 5 seat following the termination of Trustee Ty Humes’ provisional appointment. A recall petition is also circulating for Area 4 Trustee Michael Allman.

In an effort to address the issue of instability at the board level, Allman asked Young if she would not support the recall against him. Young declined to answer.

“I don’t think that’s an appropriate question for the conversation we’re having,” she said. “I don’t have an opinion, it’s not my place to have an opinion, that’s for the Area 4 voters.”

“I’ll take that as a no,” Allman said.

Superintendent search materials can be viewed under the superintendent search tab on the district’s website