The Escondido Union High School District board moved with speed to name a new superintendent after Steve Boyle announced his retirement last month.
The board voted this week to select the current superintendent of Ramona Unified School District, Anne Staffieri, as Boyle’s replacement, effective July 1.
Boyle leaves his position as superintendent after over 30 years in education in Escondido.
Steve Boyle has been a highly visible educator, leader and community member. Born and raised in Escondido, Boyle’s understanding of the community’s needs, as well as rich array of available resources, has been instrumental in securing valuable partnerships to benefit thousands of students.
The outgoing superintendent took great pride in the opening of Del Lago Academy – Campus of Applied Science (2013), expanding supportive services for students (i.e. School Social Workers, Family Liaisons, Career Techs, afterschool programs, etc.) and the implementation of improvements to each campus following the 2008 Bond Initiative.
Board President Bill Durney commented, “The district values and appreciates Steve Boyle’s commitment, compassion and leadership to our students, staff and families. He is leaving a valuable imprint on the District having impacted the lives of thousands of students, as well as educators, with his dedication to every student’s right to a quality public education.”
Durney added, “I am pleased to report the Board voted this evening to approve the contract for Dr. Anne Staffieri to serve as the next EUHSD Superintendent. I am confident Anne has the skills, experience and passion necessary to guide EUHSD towards excellence. As elected officials, the Board of Education is charged with making the best decisions on behalf of all students, while being responsible stewards of taxpayers’ dollars.
“Selecting a Superintendent is one of the most important actions we take. When notified of Mr. Boyle’s retirement in June, we considered priority needs of the district, possible known entities for this important leadership role and fiscal costs of hiring a firm to conduct the search. It was determined that Dr. Anne Staffieri, well known in the education community, experienced with the unique needs of Escondido, and with a demonstrated track record in EUHSD and neighboring districts, was an excellent candidate for the Superintendent position. On March 8, 2019, notice of a special board meeting was posted as required.”
At the special board meeting on March 11, the board interviewed two candidates. “After meeting with Dr. Anne Staffieri, we were confirmed in our belief she was very well qualified to lead EUHSD,” said Durney. “This decision will allow a smooth transition for our students, families, community/business partners and staff. We are looking forward to working with her to ensure efforts continue to be provided offering students in Escondido the academic, social and emotional resources necessary to be well prepared for college, a career, and for life.”
Most recently, Dr. Anne Staffieri has served as the Superintendent of Ramona Unified School District. From 2013-2016, she was the EUHSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. Her career in education began at EUHSD’s San Pasqual High School where she taught biology and Spanish. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Brigham Young University (BYU), a Masters of Arts in Education, Curriculum Development from California State University San Marcos and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from BYU.
Dr. Staffieri is highly involved with a number of professional organizations including Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) and California School Board Association (CSBA). Frequently, she serves as a guest speaker, trainer and panelist on the local, state and national levels, often using her bilingual skills.
She commented, “I am looking forward to returning to the Escondido Union High School District and deeply honored to be named as the next Superintendent. I am committed to continuing the good work that has been in place here and building upon the deep traditions and culture that support success for all students.”
The high school was criticized in some quarters for the way that it selected the new superintendent, which to some minds did not involve the public enough in the selection process.
The Times-Advocate asked Board President Bill Durney to comment on this. He said, “We received just two comments concerning our method of selecting our next superintendent. As a board, we followed a practice that many organizations follow – we looked to internal or known personnel who we felt could fill the position, and if we found none, we would advertise and conduct a search.”
Durney added, “We interviewed two individuals, both previously vetted and employed in EUHSD district leadership roles. We then chose Dr. Staffieri, who had previously been an Assistant Superintendent for our district and now had additional experience as a Superintendent.”
The board president also said, “School boards have broad discretion to hire a superintendent who they feel best suits their needs. There’s no specific rule relating to vacancies being posted or advertised, or specifying the process boards must follow to hire a superintendent. As it relates to the contract piece of this, boards cannot approve a superintendent’s contract at a special meeting; it must be done at a regular meeting and in open session. Government Code §§ 53260-53264 has more on this.”
Durney pointed out that the board had a special meeting on March 11 “in which the public was able to speak to this and no one did. At our regular meeting on April 9, we approved the new contract in open session.”
Dr. Staffieri will begin her role as Superintendent of EUHSD on July 1, 2019.