Cindy Marten begins new job as superintendent of city schools

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Screen%20Shot%202013-02-27%20at%208.30.23%20PMLAKESIDE — Former Central Elementary School principal Cindy Marten will begin her new job as the district’s superintendent Monday, but will immediately take a break to make good on a promise to some of her former students.

Marten plans to join in on the elementary school’s annual third grade camping trip to the Louis Stelzer County Park Campground in Lakeside this afternoon, according to the district. She’ll meet up with about 60 third-graders as they make s’mores, sing campfire songs, learn about Kumeyaay Indian history and dissect owl pellets.

District officials said the annual trip is often the first time students at the City Heights campus ever go camping.

Marten was picked as the next superintendent of the state’s second largest school district in February, just one day after Bill Kowba announced he would retire at the end of June. Board of Education President John Lee Evans said following her non-traditional selection the district would have a stronger instructional focus as finances gradually improved.

During her tenure at Central, students’ academic performance scores rose by more than 150 points, and she established a campus health center and an employee daycare center.

Kowba stepped down following a three-year run overseeing San Diego Unified operations. During the 61-year-old former Navy admiral’s time as superintendent, students’ academic achievement improved despite continual budget cuts forced by reductions in state funding.