SOLANA BEACH — Longtime parent volunteer and substitute teacher Katie Süel was appointed as a replacement trustee on the Solana Beach School District Board of Education on Thursday, filling the seat left empty by Vicki King.
The board held an interview session for candidates for the vacant board seat on Nov. 9, with Süel being the only applicant. A handful of community members who spoke during public comment said she would be a great asset to the board.
Süel, who has a doctorate in molecular biophysics, has been involved with the district for around 10 years. She served as a member of the Solana Highlands PTA while her children were in school, is currently president of the Solana Beach Schools Education Foundation, and has worked as a substitute teacher in various classrooms for the past three years.
She said she was approached by several people about running for the vacant seat in recent weeks, and that after doing some research and thinking about it, she decided to put her name in the running.
“I wish to serve on the board because I want to be a voice for each and every student in the district,” Süel said. “I think of the board as citizen oversight of the school district and being the community’s voice in the role of the public schooling of their children.”
Board President Debra Schade expressed excitement about Süel’s contributions to the board.
“Dr. Süel brings a wealth of experience, leadership, and dedication to our board. Together, we are committed to fostering excellence in education and empowering our students to thrive,” Schade said.
Süel will be officially sworn in for the board’s next meeting on Dec. 5.
The Area 3 seat represents Carmel Valley and parts of Rancho Santa Fe. Since King was less than one year into a four-year term on the board, Süel will serve in the role until the November 2024 election and will be eligible to run for a two-year term again after that.
King, a board member of 17 years, finished her last day at the board’s regular meeting on Nov. 8. She announced her plans to depart the district in early October, around the same time that Superintendent Jodee Brentlinger announced her own plans to retire in January.
The district has already kicked off its search for a new superintendent, approving a $26,500 agreement with the Education Support Services Group to lead the nationwide search on Nov. 8. Under a proposed timeline, the board will interview candidates throughout January and select a new superintendent in February.