The Coast News Group
Jennifer Burks. Contributed
Jennifer Burks. Contributed
CitiesRegionSolana Beach

New superintendent leads Solana Beach School District

SOLANA BEACH — The Solana Beach School District has approved a four-year contract with its new superintendent, Dr. Jennifer Burks. 

Burks was unanimously appointed to the position by the district board of trustees on Thursday after emerging as the top candidate last month. She will officially begin her role on March 1 with a base salary of $253,000. 

“I am incredibly honored to be selected as the new superintendent in the Solana Beach School District. I look forward to meeting our students, families, and dedicated staff and to partnering with the Board of Education in service of each and every learner,” Burks said in January. 

Burks spent the past six and a half years as Associate Superintendent of Technology and Innovation in the Poway Unified School District, where she was named California’s Technology Administrator of the Year in 2020. For three years prior, she worked as the executive director of educational technology in Orange County’s Westminster School District.   

She holds a doctorate in organizational change and leadership from the University of Southern California, a master’s degree in clinical psychology and education from Pepperdine University, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

District leaders said Burks stood out due to her evident commitment to students and ability to connect with personnel across the Poway Unified district. 

“Throughout her educational career, Dr. Burks has demonstrated excellence, embodying an outstanding leadership style that aligns with our district’s mission, vision, and values. Her professional references consistently described her as an empathetic and caring leader who cultivates support with colleagues, parents, and community members,” said board president Debra Schade.

Burks is also involved with the Association of California School Administrators and the California School Boards Association. She also serves on the Artificial Intelligence Taskforce of CSBA.

After former superintendent Jodee Brentlinger announced her retirement, the board began seeking a new hire for the district’s top job in the fall. Associate Superintendent Sabrina Lee will continue to serve as interim superintendent until Burks’ start date. 

The Solana Beach School District serves around 2,800 students between seven elementary schools and its Child Development Center. 

1 comment

Todd Maddison February 19, 2024 at 7:55 pm

Imagine if school superintendents were incentivized in their pay plan to improve education, rather than simply warming the seat for a time.

Solana Beach went the safe route, “business as usual”, rather than being forward-thinking enough to do something new.

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