The San Dieguito Union High School District has named a temporary replacement to take the spot of superintendent following the resignation of Robert Haley.
The SDUHSD said Friday it had decided to appoint Lucile Lynch to serve as interim superintendent during a special board meeting the night prior. Before choosing Lynch, the district reviewed 14 applications and interviewed eight candidates.
The decision will be ratified at a board meeting in May. Meanwhile, a nationwide search will be conducted for a permanent replacement, the North County school district said.
Lynch had two sons that attended schools in the SDUHSD and she volunteered at their schools, Oak Crest Middle School and La Costa Canyon High School, throughout their attendance. The district called her a dedicated "education advocate."
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The decision comes days after former Superintendent Robert Haley resigned from his position. Friday marked his last day. His contract was set to expire June 1.
NBC 7 was told the reason for Haley's departure is not related to anything illegal or improper.
Haley is being compensated on his way out the door -- the district said he would receive a year's salary and that the district will "maintain his health and welfare benefits until April 30, 2022, or until he obtains benefit coverage elsewhere, whichever occurs first."
Haley was asked for a comment by NBC 7 regarding his departure and on Wednesday received the following statement that he addressed to the school community:
It was an honor to be the superintendent of San Dieguito Union High School District. I enjoyed my time serving the students, families, staff and community. I will always be a student- centered leader and decision-maker, and I truly love the students of SDUHSD. The creation of our student summit, although in response to tragedy, allowed me to have great insight into our students’ thoughts, concerns, hopes and questions. This guided my work and led to our district to have a statewide reputation for caring about the daily experiences of our students.
I thank the leadership team I had the privilege of working with on a daily basis. They are as strong as any team in the state of California. I thank the support staff who were always amazing and dedicated, and were there every day we needed them when we entered the COVID-19 period of time. I thank the teachers and faculty who were also always dedicated to their profession, who pivoted in response to COVID-19 and were flexible to ensure all students received an education, regardless of their circumstances of learning at home or at school. I thank our families who are so supportive of not just their own students but our schools, foundations, parent teacher organizations, athletic and extracurricular programs. All of this combined together makes for a truly supportive school community.
This past year has been one with many challenges impacting our community and our nation. For many families and students, I know this past year has been hard on them and, for many, learning at home was, and is, not ideal and has caused stress and harm. I worked as hard as I could to ensure those families were supported and their students could return to campus. It is my fervent hope that the district and the state continue on this path. At the same time, we must remember the students at home and ensure they are supported as well.
I enjoyed spending as much time as possible on school campuses interacting with students, teachers and staff to truly have an understanding of how district decisions impacted their daily lives. I will miss that time tremendously. Although it was my desire to finish my career at San Dieguito Union High School District, that is not to be. The district is a great one and can be a lighthouse for the state and nation. I hope the board of trustees is successful with any positive initiatives it has in the future. I truly hope the vision stays in place that all students are entitled to a successful education, we are a team, engaged, inspired, prepared, and that continues to guide the path forward.
The district reopened for in-person learning on March 16, a day before it planned to reopen and before the county moved into the red tier, when state guidelines would allow schools to reopen for in-person instruction.
Students and parents had been urging the district since last year to get students back for in-person instruction. Ultimately some parents in North County filed a lawsuit against the state, and on March 15, a judge ruled that schools that had not been able to reopen while the county was in the purple tier could reopen, without regard to when the county would move to the updated red tier.