ENCINITAS — The San Dieguito Union High School District school board appointed Tina Douglas as interim superintendent in a unanimous vote at a special April 22 board meeting.
The decision comes on the heels of the board’s decision just two days earlier to place Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward on administrative leave for her controversial comments about the academic performance of Asian students in the district.
According to news outlets, James-Ward plans to file a lawsuit against the school district alleging retaliation.
“Tina Douglas has more passion for this district than anyone I’ve ever met,” Board President Maureen Muir said during the April 22 meeting. “She has proven herself to be someone who really loves everyone and wants to make sure everyone succeeds.”
Since 2017, Douglas has served as the associate superintendent of business services at the school district and has over 30 years of school business experience.
“As Interim Superintendent, she will add stability and calm leadership to SDUHSD,” Trustee Katrina Young said.
Douglas did not reply to a request to comment by deadline.
The appointment of Douglas is subject to ratification at the next regular San Dieguito school board meeting on May 19. The board has not said for how long Ward will be on administrative leave.
This is the fourth superintendent for the San Dieguito district in a year. Superintendent Robert Haley resigned on April 27 of last year and businesswoman Lucile Lynch served as interim superintendent before Ward’s hiring.
During public comments prior to the closed session in which the board voted on the appointment, many community members commented on Ward’s leave. Some speakers opposed the board’s decision of administrative leave and said that Ward should continue as superintendent.
“I accept Dr. Ward’s apology,” one speaker said. “Let’s get on with the urgent business of completing and implementing our ethnic studies curriculum; our diversity, equity, and inclusion training and providing a quality education for all students.”
Other speakers supported Ward’s administrative leave; some called for her resignation or firing.
“At this point, there is no second chance,” another speaker said. “The damage cannot be retracted. The only damage control is for Dr. Ward to go.”