Two San Diego Unified Superintendent Finalists Announced

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Public Forums to Provide Opportunities to Engage with Superintendent Candidates

By Voice & Viewpoint Newswire

According to a statement released Wednesday, December 14, the San Diego Unified Board of Education named two finalists for the position of superintendent, following what SDUSD termed “an extensive community engagement process led by a diverse 48-member advisory committee.”

The Board is scheduled to appoint a permanent superintendent in January, with a formal introduction of the superintendent set for January 18 at the State of the District Address.

The candidates will participate in community forums that will offer the public opportunities to engage with the finalists before the Board selects the next permanent superintendent in January. The superintendent finalists are: Dr. Susan Enfield and Dr. Lamont A. Jackson.

Dr. Susan Enfield via aasa.org

Dr. Susan Enfield has served as superintendent for Highline Public Schools since 2012. A high school English, journalism and ELL teacher, Dr. Enfield served as Chief Academic Officer and then as Interim Superintendent for Seattle Public Schools before coming to Highline. She previously held leadership positions in Evergreen Public Schools (Vancouver, WA), Portland Public Schools and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Enfield is a UC Berkeley graduate, and earned master’s degrees from Stanford University and Harvard University. She also holds a doctoral degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard’s Urban Superintendents Program. Dr. Enfield was named Superintendent of the Year by the National School Foundation Association in 2018, and was recently named the Washington State Superintendent of the Year for 2022.

Dr. Lamont A. Jackson via SDUSD.org

Dr. Lamont A. Jackson is the Interim Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District. Dr. Jackson grew up in San Diego. He graduated from San Diego Unified and has been an employee of the district for more than 30 years. Dr. Jackson has held the position of teaching assistant, teacher and coach, principal at Montgomery, Challenger and Wangenheim Middle Schools, and Chief Human Resources Officer for the district. Most recently, Dr. Jackson served as Area 2 Superintendent. Dr. Jackson graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social sciences. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of San Diego. SDSU’s press release notes that Jackson “has worked to mentor African American students throughout his career.”

Please visit the superintendent search webpage for more information about the finalists.

“As our advisory committee led a robust community engagement process, we learned a lot about what the public expects from the superintendent and what it envisions for the San Diego Unified School District,” said Board of Education President Richard Barrera in the December 14 statement. “These incredibly qualified candidates are the result of that community process, and each of them meets the qualifications and characteristics the public told us they are looking for.”

Community forums for the public to engage with the superintendent finalists will be held on January 10, including events at Logan Memorial Educational Campus and Patrick Henry High School. Details about the forums will be posted on the superintendent search webpage.

“I would like to thank all the parents, students, employees and community members who have participated in this superintendent search process,” said Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, Vice President of the Board of Education. “I also invite everyone to stay involved during this final portion of the search process because your voices are critical.”

The press release further notes that the Superintendent Recruitment and Selection Process was adopted by the Board in February. The process, according to SDUSD, included a plan for stakeholder engagement, allowing for multiple town halls, community meetings and other opportunities for the public to actively participate in the selection process. The National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) was contracted to do this work.

San Diego Unified, the December statement said, offered 34 community input opportunities to the public between July and September. A 48-member Superintendent Search Advisory Committee appointed by the Board guided the process. The committee reflects the diversity of San Diego Unified students and the San Diego Community, and includes members from nonprofit and civic organizations; elected officials, student, staff and parent organizations; and educational institutions.

The Advisory Committee reviewed all applications from candidates who met the minimum qualifications and recommended up to ten candidates to be interviewed by the Board.
The Board appointed Dr. Jackson, as Interim Superintendent after former Superintendent Cindy Marten was named Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

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