San Diego Unified Team,
In Navy terms, the voyage is over. Today, I complete my tenure as the Superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District. Like any Navy deployment, I have mixed emotions about the end of the journey. I will miss the wonderful call to serve children and the singular collaboration with a committed Board, a dedicated professional staff, hard-working students, and supportive parents. But it is time for me to move to another passage of life. I have stood the watch and been relieved.
We have been through so much together since my Board appointment as the interim Superintendent in September 2009. No one could have predicted that the deep and prolonged recession of the past four years would be the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, a time of great uncertainty and turmoil in public education. It is testimony to your collective mettle, resiliency, and fortitude that the team has steered an unwavering course of academic excellence in these darkest moments. We lost millions of dollars in funding and lost several hundred colleagues along the way, but we never lost our sense of purpose and devotion to the core mission of educating the children of San Diego!
I leave both proud and humbled by all that you have accomplished despite navigating in such an austere and demanding environment. You have unequivocally demonstrated that public schools in an urban setting can and do succeed in achieving quality teaching and learning. All of you – Trustees, central office and campus personnel, classified and certificated staff, students, and parents – have been integral in advancing public education. Reflect with great satisfaction on the following, a snapshot of your accomplishments:
- The development of the quality neighborhood school vision
- Five-year highs in attendance
- Continuously improving standardized tests
- Steady closure of the achievement gap
- The second highest graduation rate among California’s large urban school districts
- The lowest drop-out rate among California’s largest urban school districts
- A district API over 800
- A national model for classroom information technology with i21
- An award-winning visual and performing arts program
- Two multi-billion dollar construction bonds
- Broad Prize Finalist!
Hard work and solid teaming have moved us through rough seas. There are still uncharted waters ahead. We need to stabilize our resource base while advancing our quality neighborhood strategy, expanding the A-G framework, implementing the common core standards, and much more. The next voyage will be as exciting as the last one. With all hands on deck under the visionary leadership of Superintendent Marten, you make great headway and further elevate public education in San Diego.
In closing, thanks for all that you have done for me, our district, and most importantly, our children in the last four years. You have all been terrific shipmates. Best wishes, fair winds, and following seas!
With Deepest Appreciation,
San Diego Unified School District