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Nathan Baker will be the new permanent principal at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos. Courtesy photo
Nathan Baker will be the new permanent principal at Mission Hills High School in San Marcos. Courtesy photo
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Suspended Mission Hills principal won’t return, school names replacement

SAN MARCOS — The former principal of Mission Hills High School will remain on leave until June 30, at which time his employment will end, San Marcos Unified School District officials announced this week. 

Cliff Mitchell, who became principal in 2020, was placed on leave after administrators became aware of a “reported matter” in late September, with a subsequent investigation taking place over the following months.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Andy Johnsen informed the community that Mitchell would not be returning and that acting principal Nathan Baker, formerly the school’s assistant principal, will be the new permanent principal. 

“We have since completed our investigation, and I want to share with you that Mr. Mitchell will not be returning to Mission Hills,” Johnsen said in a statement. “While I understand it is natural to want as many details as possible, please understand that personnel matters are confidential, and we cannot share additional information.”

Nathan Baker, acting principal at Mission Hills and formerly the school’s assistant principal, replaces Mitchell as the new permanent school principal. Courtesy photo
Nathan Baker, acting principal at Mission Hills and formerly the school’s assistant principal, replaces Mitchell as the new principal. Courtesy photo

District officials have stated that the reported situation did not appear to involve harm to a student. District spokesperson Amy Ventetuolo said law enforcement was not involved at any point in the matter. 

Baker has served as acting principal since Mitchell’s placement on leave in October and will be the permanent principal of Mission Hills beginning Feb. 1. He has worked 10 years at Mission Hills. 

The school’s acting assistant principal Tina Hernandez, who has worked as an English Language coordinator and teacher on special assignments, will fill the role vacated by Baker beginning the same day.

District officials said they were impressed with Baker’s and Hernadez’s leadership during the transition and thanked the community for their patience. 

“We are excited about the school and believe that with this leadership stability, MHHS is positioned for continued success now and into the future,” Johnsen said.

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