San Dieguito School Board appoints next superintendent

ENCINITAS – The San Dieguito Union School District will officially welcome Dr. Cheryl James-Ward as the new superintendent on November 1 after agreeing to a contract of employment with the former principal of the charter school this week.

The contract, which was accepted by the board in a 3-1 vote against director Katrina Young, is for three years and eight months with an annual salary of $ 288,000.

James-Ward was most recently the CEO of e3 Civic High School, a charter school in San Diego.

Ginny Merrifield, executive director of the North County Parent Association and administrator of e3 Civic High School, approved the hiring of James-Ward at the board meeting this week.

“I can say without reservation that Dr. Ward is one of the most inspiring educators I have ever met,” said Merrifield. “His integrity, work ethic, commitment and dedication to students are unparalleled. “

The research, conducted by Texas-based firm JG Consulting, received applications for the position from across the country before the board of directors selected the Carmel Valley resident.

Evan Sorem, a district parent and outspoken school board critic, has expressed concern about James-Ward’s connection to the leadership of the Parents’ Association.

“I’m talking about the masquerade that everyone got into over the past three weeks as everyone told an outside entity what they wanted in a superintendent, and you had it in your back pocket all. this time, Sorem said.

Merrifield later argued during public comments that she was not aware of the school board’s decision until she was made aware of the hiring by e3 Civic High.

Young was the only dissenting vote in selecting James-Ward as a finalist for the job and approving his employment contract. Young did not give specific reasons for his decision.

“I don’t want nothing but its success and I want nothing but the success of this neighborhood and I’m 100% behind that,” Young said.

The other trustees shared their approval of the new superintendent.

Board chairman Mo Muir said JG Consulting told him prior to the decision that James-Ward was likely to be hired elsewhere, if not by San Dieguito.

“Our consultant told me that if you don’t hire her, I have another place for her right now,” Muir said. “I’ll hire her right away, I know other districts will want her.”

The district is still grappling with a division between families, students and faculty, which is just one of many issues the new superintendent will have to address when her term officially begins next month.

Administrator Melisse Mossy believes the hiring of James-Ward can help usher in a new era for the district.

“I have high expectations that our district will enter a new chapter that will bring us to the forefront of engaged, inspired and prepared students,” said Mossy.

In addition to her position at e3 Civic High, James-Ward is also a former principal and vice-principal of the Long Beach Unified School District, principal of Capri Elementary School in Encinitas, and teacher and dean of students of the Los Angeles Unified School District. . .

“I encourage anyone to look at their resume,” said administrator Michael Allman. “You hardly can make it up.”

As she did in statements made after being chosen as the sole finalist for the job, James-Ward took a holistic approach in the comments after her employment contract was finalized.

“We are at a tipping point where the dominant world powers can change at any time and where more than half of the jobs today may not exist in just five years,” said James-Ward. “As we heard earlier, our goal should be to love each of our children. And ensure their mental, social and emotional well-being.

The new superintendent of one of the state’s top-ranked districts ended her comments with a call for unity from members of the school district.

“I am touched and honored to be your next superintendent,” said James-Ward. “Together, we are moving forward. “

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