ENCINITAS — In a rushed special meeting early Friday morning before Labor Day weekend, the San Dieguito Union High School District discussed further plans related to its search for a full-time superintendent.
The district board voted 3-1 to begin an expedited search, selecting Oct. 14 as the date to approve a new superintendent contract.
Board President Mo Muir, who made the motion to go with the rushed timeline, said she has concerns with the school year moving into the holiday season and it would be best to get a permanent superintendent in place sooner.
“I want to make sure our superintendent is very active in making sure that all of our kids go to all of our high schools and making sure all of our high schools are desired,” Muir said. “The fact that we’re going into the holidays, I want someone to come in early to address all of our issues.”
The first timeline option put a date for the board to approve a new superintendent contract on Nov. 18, one week before Thanksgiving.
Interim Superintendent Lucile Lynch has previously stated she is willing to remain in the position through the remainder of the calendar year.
Despite the rushed posting of the agenda and early start time, several community members did make public comments supporting the first option to give the district and its search firm more time as well as expressing frustration for how the meeting was scheduled.
“Holding meetings during high school principal coffees and when most of your stakeholders, in particular the staff, students and working families you serve, is not transparent,” said parent Heather Dugdale. “It’s not inclusive. It’s not collaborative. It breaks trust. Rushing to make a decision when one-fifth of your community does not have representation on this board is not inclusive or collaborative. It is punitive.”
The board currently has only four trustees of its five-member board, with a special election for Trustee Area 5 coming on Nov. 2.
Duncan Brown, president of the San Dieguito Faculty Association, also spoke at the meeting to express his frustration with the process.
“When you convene a special school board meeting with less than 24 hours notice, less than eight hours to put in public comments, and at a time when stakeholders are not available, it raises serious concerns,” Brown said.
Muir appeared anxious to get the vote done as quickly as possible during the relatively short discussion, which put a strain on some of her contemporaries on the board.
Trustee Melisse Mossy, at one point in discussions, asked for more feedback from staff or Lynch, but Muir instead suggested they call for a vote.
“I’m not ready to call for a vote, I’m asking for additional information,” Mossy said. “I’m not a professional so I’d like the input of people who have done this before.”
Trustee Katrina Young was strongly in support of the first and more lengthy timeline saying it would give the district much more time to not just find a new permanent superintendent but find one that can fit well in the district.
“The whole purpose is to find someone who is suited to us and personalized to us so that they understand our culture and they can be the most effective leader,” Young said.
In the end, the board voted 3-1 to move forward with the rushed timeline of a superintendent search.
Mossy was convinced by Muir’s explanation that if they needed more time in the search they could potentially extend the timeline out further.
“I have a concern that we may not have enough time for feedback but if I’m hearing that we can change that to make sure that we have enough time, then I will vote yes,” Mossy said.
Young voted no.
“I think feedback is critical,” Young said. “I don’t think option two values that, so I’m voting no.”
The district is searching for a permanent superintendent after its previous superintendent, Dr. Robert Haley, abruptly left the district in April. Haley is still being paid by the district as per his contract terms.
SDUHSD will hold another special meeting on Thursday, Sept. 9, to decide on a search firm.