UPDATE: San Dieguito superintendent fighting for job after controversy

ENCINITAS, Calif. — The San Dieguito Union High School District met in a closed session Friday to determine the fate of the school’s superintendent over her controversial comments about Asian students and families during a recent district training.

School board members appointed Tina Douglas as interim superintendent in a 4-0 vote. Douglas has worked as an associate superintendent with business services.

The replacement comes as Superintendent Cheryl James-Ward was placed on administrative leave this week for insensitive comments she made about the low number of Asian students receiving failing grades during a recent district training.

“Here in San Dieguito, we have an influx of Asians from China and the people who are able to make that journey are wealthy. You cannot come to America and buy a house for $2 million unless you have money,” Ward said.

Ward apologized for those comments during a board meeting Wednesday in front of a packed room.
For some parents, that was enough, but others called for her to step down.

“At this point, there is no second chance. The damage cannot be retracted. The only damage control is for Dr. Ward to go,” a community member said.

The board listened to more than an hour of public comment before a closed session Friday to discuss Ward’s fate.

“How could she be a role model anymore to our children as a superintendent. How could it be an educator in our school district. The damage is done. She needs to go,” another community member said.

Some disagreed with the decision to put Ward on administrative leave.

“Superintendent Ward is outstanding for what she has accomplished so far in our district. She serves all our students and communities. Putting her on administrative leave and threatening to fire her for a mistake is fiscally irresponsible and a waste of my tax dollars. I want her reinstated, immediately,” an attendee said.

FOX 5 reached out to board members after the meeting, but they would not comment on the decision or Ward’s future.