The Coast News Group
The San Marcos Unified School District on Tuesday will approve a contract to hire Dr. Andy Johnsen as its new superintendent. Photo courtesy of Lakeside Unified School District.
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San Marcos Unified set to hire new superintendent

SAN MARCOS – The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) is preparing to approve a contract to hire Andy Johnsen as the district’s new superintendent. Johnsen is currently the superintendent of Lakeside Union School District in East County.

The district said that the board will make the announcement at its regular school board meeting on Tuesday, April 20, following a months-long recruitment, interview and vetting process.

“As a well-regarded Superintendent, the Board is confident that Dr. Johnsen will be a calming force for our staff, students, and community,” school board President Stacy Carlson said in a statement Friday.

Johnsen will officially begin his position on July 1, according to the statement.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Johnsen has been the Lakeside Unified superintendent since 2017 and has previously served as a principal in the Poway Unified and Los Angeles Unified school districts.

The district has not disclosed the details of Johnsen’s compensation.

The district initiated the search for a new superintendent soon after the new governing board was seated Dec. 15.

In the meantime, SMUSD has been led by former superintendent Kevin Holt followed, since Jan. 19, by Interim Superintendent Tiffany Campbell.

The position became vacant after former superintendent Carmen García abruptly resigned in September 2020 following months of conflict with parents and district teachers.

The district recruited advisers Suzette Lovely and Beverly Hempstead from Education Support Services (ESS), a consulting firm that helps school districts with superintendent searches, governance training and human resources, to assist with the search.

This announcement comes after a controversial past few weeks for the district. SMUSD is facing criticism from district families and community members after its refusal to fully reopen schools despite pressure from a lawsuit and a judge’s ruling.

The district also placed one of its teachers, identified by media outlets as Alissa Piro, on administrative leave last week after she was recorded yelling at her students during a Zoom class.

“We are deeply concerned about the recent videos that have surfaced regarding one of our employees; this is a matter that we take very seriously and it is receiving our highest scrutiny,” SMUSD said in a statement.