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Dr. Carmen Garcia
San Marcos Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Carmen García resigned on Tuesday after serving two years at the district. Photo courtesy of SMUSD
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San Marcos Unified Superintendent Carmen García resigns

SAN MARCOS – The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) announced at Tuesday’s board meeting that Superintendent Dr. Carmen García has resigned effective immediately. 

Assistant Superintendent Tiffany Campbell will step in as the acting superintendent of the district.

García was not present at the board meeting, but the district posted a farewell message from the former superintendent on its website.

In the letter, García thanks the board for the “amicable separation” and “for the opportunity to work together these past two years with phenomenal students, teachers, parents, staff, administrators, and the community at large.”

García goes on to thank teachers, students, administrators, the district and the community as a whole for their service and dedication to the district. She concludes with a note to the SMUSD Community: 

“As our world continues to shift with the twists and turns brought forth by a global pandemic, our students rely upon the ongoing courageous conversations and support that will provide the best education for all SMUSD scholars. Thank you for your dedication in moving forward with this endeavor in order to create an equity-based system that supports all students, from all backgrounds with multidimensional needs, so that, one day, “all means all” rings true everywhere.”

García was appointed by the board in Oct. of 2018. She came to San Marcos from San Diego Unified School District where she served as a lead principal at San Diego High School.

It is unclear why García made the sudden decision to step down, however, numerous parents and families of the district have expressed their disappointment during board meetings and on social media platforms about the district’s approach to the reopening of schools amid COVID-19 concerns.

The district’s reopening plan failed to garner enough votes at its July 21 board meeting. The board plans to hold a second vote Tuesday evening, though the district already started classes virtually on Aug. 18.

“Many parents have been actively participating in the monthly board meetings since last November. That community engagement was in reaction to several decisions and actions made by Dr. García,” said Sandra Greefkes, a SMUSD parent. “There was a significant loss of confidence in her ability to lead our district based on the results of a community-based climate survey… As parents, we look forward to positively collaborating with the district leadership, teachers and staff. Dr. Campbell is responsive and thoughtful and understands the logistics required to open safely.”

25 comments

The Man September 24, 2020 at 2:39 pm

HORRIBLE!!

The Man September 24, 2020 at 12:09 pm

As a community and a staff member, allow me to address those who are happy to see Dr. Garcia gone, you all should take a good hard look in the mirror. All the negativity going around in this country has apparently rubbed off to you.
I went to several school board meetings during the last two years, Dr. Garcia was always actively attentive and would always be taking notes, and would actually respond positively and accordingly to the issues and matters at hand. You may not have liked that she was moving things and policies along that didn’t fit is with your cup of tea. Think about it, look back in the last 10 (ten) myears how many Superintendents has SMUSD had? Could it be that whenever any of them have made decisions that upsetted a group of parents and special interest groups it rattles their tails. I believe, again it is only my opinion, that the groups opposing any good thing any Supt does that benefits the community as a whole, they will be up in arms, in the faces of the school board members and raise hell about their dislikes. And why is it that this people live and come from the San Elijo hills, Coronado hills and Woodland hills neighborhoods? Some of their motivations and inclinations deserve to be re-evaluated and more closely examined. One other thing, because of the fact that Dr. Garcia used words or phrases in Spanish, which she always translated to English, such as “Adelante!” which is “Onward or forward”, it could have made those same parents uncomfortable or got them angry that the Supt was reaching out and identifying with the Latinx community. By the way, in the 1970’s and early 80’s there was more Hispanics that any other ethnic group in the Valley of Discovery known as San Marcos. Go ahead take a close glimpse in the mirror San Elijo, Coronado, Woodland and Santa Fe hills parents and teachers, look deeply into your souls!

Selah.

Susan Bee September 22, 2020 at 10:22 am

Let’s not talk about the nepotism!!!!! Thanks for the crappy principal at MHHS, at least she knew she was in over her head as well, in the mean time the staff and kids suffered.

16 year SMUSD parent September 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm

Every time I had a question or concern she or her staff would respond. It seems that during such uncertain times parents would spend energy on lobbying for stability rather than hateful banter. It seem to me that when people criticize her politics, they are criticizing her attention to socio economic issues and race and her quest for inclusion and equity. I hope that the SMUSD board can make decisions that put all students first, not just those that live on the right side of the tracks

Ildy trans September 18, 2020 at 8:42 am

You are a leader when you recognize you made mistakes and poor choices, she has not done any of it, she had an agenda to push on people not caring what the schools, teachers, community wanted, making choices that were in our kids disadvantage. Parents matter the most they are the ones who truly care about their kids education she should have listened to the feedback and needs.

NOT A SEES PARENT September 18, 2020 at 12:14 am

Let me guess, are most of the negative comments here from teachers or parents from ONE particular school? Dr. Garcia wanted what was best for students. I encourage those that haven’t seen the popular FB parent group started by a few parents from the same school to check it out. Read what the group is supposed to be about and then read through all the posts and comments. All they did was completely divide this community and fill it with hate and negativity. This group is truly toxic. They had one thing on the agenda and one thing only…get rid of Dr. Garcia. They were mad they didn’t get their way when it came to hiring a principal at their school and they’ve been loud and obnoxious ever since. Congratulations. I’m sad for our community. 🙁

NOT A SEES PARENT September 17, 2020 at 8:13 pm

Let me guess, are most of the negative comments here from teachers or parents from ONE particular school? Dr. Garcia wanted what was best for students. I encourage those that haven’t seen the popular FB parent group started by a few parents from the same school to check it out. Read what the group is supposed to be about and then read through all the posts and comments. All they did was completely divide this community and fill it with hate and negativity. This group is truly toxic. They had one thing on the agenda and one thing only…get rid of Dr. Garcia. They were mad they didn’t get their way when it came to hiring a principal at their school and they’ve been loud and obnoxious ever since. Congratulations. I’m sad for our community. 🙁

Also NOT a SEES parent September 18, 2020 at 5:26 pm

I COMPLETELY agree! Also not a SEES parent. My interactions with her have always been very generous and caring. They are a toxic and angry group.

about time September 17, 2020 at 10:29 am

technically she resigned but she had just had her performance review and the writing was on the wall.
In her short time at SMUSD, Garcia alienated parents, hired all of her friends as principals, ignored teachers and refused to negotiate with the union.
that’ll get you run.

will September 17, 2020 at 7:04 am

Very good choice to leave and excellent replacement. Dr. Garcia consistently showed an inability to work collaboratively and was very single-minded in her leadership. Her aggressive staff decisions were single-minded as well and not supported by other stakeholders and negatively impacted morale.

An smusd parent September 16, 2020 at 7:51 pm

I actually disagree with the seething responses from many that disliked Dr. Garcia. Carmen never had a chance with these hateful and toxic people. I had the pleasure of working directly with her in a PTO capacity a few times and I found her to be incredibly proactive and responsive. She was constantly asking for feedback and suggestions from all of us- but the few others, and some specifically named above- just stonewalled her and campaigned against her no matter what she did.

Kirk Erickson September 16, 2020 at 5:04 pm

This is a direct reflection and failure by the Board in the hiring of Dr. Garcia initially! This community deserves better, and needs to demand that the Board start to make better decisions!

Concerned Resudent September 16, 2020 at 3:33 pm

For what our community pays in taxes we deserve way better. Now if the people who came up to north county with her can just take a hint. Who’s next?

Nick Lipple September 16, 2020 at 3:24 pm

she was a dumpster fire. I pity the district that she ends up working at

JR Wilson September 16, 2020 at 3:22 pm

I’m very sorry to hear of Dr. Garcia’s departure. She is a bright woman with incredible enthusiasm for her job. She did a remarkable job of navigating the new school landscape over the past 6 months. It’s sad that a small group of self-interested parents (see other comments) were able to push her out.

A student September 16, 2020 at 1:22 pm

I knew her as a kind person. There was definitely a lack of communication between the district and families and teachers that was very frustrating however it was a very difficult time that she was leading smusd through. Thank you Carmen Garcia for your hard work within our district.

A student September 16, 2020 at 1:19 pm

I knew her as a kind person. There was definitely a lack of communication between the district and families and teachers that was very frustrating however it was a very difficult time that she was leading smusd through. Thank you Carmen Garcia for your hard work within our district.

bye garcia September 16, 2020 at 11:38 am

good riddance! toxic person and has no place in education.

Doug September 16, 2020 at 10:45 am

Good riddance to someone who had no intention to listen to teachers and parents, and someone who has repeatedly put her opinions above others. Tiffany Campbell is an amazing woman who listens and collaborates with the community, and I look forward to the positive direction she will guide the district in.

tavila September 16, 2020 at 9:53 am

Good.
She’ll go down as the worst super in SMUSD history.

Mimi Dubon September 15, 2020 at 9:37 pm

Gracias por todo Dr. Carmen Garcia por la dedicación que tuvo durante este tiempo acá en San Marcos Unified School Distrito. Y también Gracias, por mejorar la educación de nuestros niños en este Distrito. Good job. God Blessed. Una puerta se le cerró pero Dios le va abrir otra mejor y más grande. Si se puede firme y adelante. Lamentablemente hay padres que no supieron valorar su arduo trabajo.

Jake September 16, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Maybe if you payed attention to the stress Carmen’s education policies put on us students as well as her lack of commitment to collaborate with teachers and parents, you’d understand why it’s a good thing that she resigned.

Jefferson Smith September 15, 2020 at 8:54 pm

I believe Dr. Garcia was in over her head. I think her resignation was best as she was clearly not up to the task of leading the district through such a challenging time. Speaking of up to the task, it is the board who made such a poor hire and has shown a lack of judgement and talent evaluation. Perhaps the board can do a more competent job of bringing in a leader who understands the needs of students, staff, community and can stifle the politics and operate above it. Too many over educated, under performing and under experienced appointees in high levels of education. We need more real world leaders, not paper leaders.

Patrick Jenkinson September 16, 2020 at 2:07 pm

Agree 100%. She was in over her head from day 1. SMUSD needs to review their selection PROCESS as it relates to how this appointment was made in the first place. Our kids lost 2, irreplaceable years of direction, guidance, and educational support. Ultimately, they paid the price for her incompetence and her personal agenda.

Kirk Erickson September 16, 2020 at 5:06 pm

1000% AGREE!!!

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