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San Diego Unified picked the two deputy superintendents this weekend who will serve under Superintendent Bill Kowba, one overseeing business, the other academics. Just as with Kowba, the school board went with insiders who are familiar faces in the district.

Choosing an academic leader is especially important for Kowba, whose expertise is largely in the business side of schools. Board members have repeatedly said he would need a strong deputy superintendent to offset his lack of school experience. Kowba has never taught in the classroom.

The person they chose to oversee academics, Nellie Meyer, has done everything in San Diego Unified from being a principal to overseeing elementary schools to shepherding dropout prevention. Recently, she’s been guiding a new effort to focus schools more on critical thinking and other deeper skills that aren’t as easily measured by standardized tests. Her style is low-key and collaborative — just the kind of approach that the school board wants and has already sought out in Kowba.

On the business side, the board chose Phil Stover, an interesting guy with an unusual history. Stover first came to San Diego Unified as a consultant, and ended up being rehired so many times that he was eventually tapped as its interim chief special projects officer, then its interim finance chief. Read our earlier profile of Stover to better understand his philosophy and his history.

— EMILY ALPERT

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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