San Diego Unified searches for superintendent, offers incentives for open roles

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SAN DIEGO – Looking for a job? San Diego’s largest school district might be the place for you.

Top of mind for the San Diego Unified School District is finding its next superintendent to replace Cindy Marten. The longtime educator who led the district since 2013 left this year after being confirmed as deputy education secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

The district held a series of forums this fall to allow community stakeholders the chance to weigh in about what they find desirable in the next leader of California’s second-largest district.

“We’re excited about it, too,” said Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, vice president of the district’s board. “We’ve been without our superintendent for at least six, seven months and now we’re ready for a permanent superintendent.”

In the role, Whitehurst-Payne said the ideal candidate would be “innovative, knowledgable, willing to take a risk, just exciting, knows what he or she wants and how to get people on board to do those things.”

But filling Marten’s chair is far from the only opening in the district. The district’s hiring website shows available openings for a number of roles, including campus police officers, bus drivers, substitute teachers, school assistants and custodians, among others. A list of open positions is available here.

Whitehurst-Payne said the district faces plenty of challenges as a result of the pandemic, but it’s committed to filling openings as quickly as possible.

To find the right candidates, it launched a series of recruitment videos to highlight district openings.

“You can’t use traditional methods only,” she said. “We have to start looking at different ways to attract people. Before the pandemic, we didn’t have everyone going on Zoom. Now we do so we have to up our game as we say.”

It’s also offering financial incentives for its most needed positions, particularly special education teachers.

“Unfortunately, we are not the only ones with openings,” Whitehurst-Payne said. “The openings that we have right now always relate to special education and we have an incentive for special education teachers. But in addition to that, we always need substitute teachers.”

Qualified candidates may be eligible for a new hire incentive of $4,000. Interested candidates are urged to apply for available positions by March 15.

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