Our reporting relies on your support. Contribute today! 

Help us reach our goal of $250,000. The countdown is on!

The new superintendent of San Diego Unified will be Cindy Marten, principal of Central Elementary School in City Heights.

Marten’s appointment was announced at a press conference Wednesday evening at San Diego Unified headquarters.

Marten, a 25-year veteran educator, has worked at Central since 2002, first as a teacher, then as the school’s principal. Before that, she worked as a teacher in the Poway Unified School District. In recent years, she has played an increasingly visible role at the district, though she has never held a more senior position than principal.

At the press conference, Marten wiped away tears as each of the five board members praised her dedication, hard work and knowledge of the district.

“What an incredible honor,” Marten said. “I believe in the hope and promise of public education in America, but I believe in doing the work to show America what good schools are all about.”

School board President John Lee Evans said the board unanimously chose Marten after a long discussion in a closed session meeting Tuesday, just after Superintendent Bill Kowba announced his plans to step down.

Marten has long been a star of San Diego Unified. She oversaw a dramatic increase in test scores at Central, a school that serves a community where 99 percent of families are low income and 85 percent of students are English learners. School board members have long steered reporters to her school to showcase the district’s success.

But she now faces an even bigger challenge.

San Diego Unified continues to struggle with a large budget deficit. It is moving forward with a plan to sell off $50 million worth of properties to help balance its budget. Even as new state funding starts flowing from Proposition 30, a tax increase passed in November, the district must spend more than 60 percent of the new funds back-filling long-promised raises and canceling unpaid days off.

Each school board member in turn said Marten was the ideal candidate for the job.

Rather than holding a nationwide search, as they have in the past, the board needed to look no further than City Heights, members said. Marten and her school embody the district’s approach to community based schooling, said Trustee Richard Barrera.

“Most of the students at Central, most of their families, are struggling,” Barrera said. “Many of them are immigrants. And yet, when you talk to the students at Central, you see incredible confidence in their ability, their belief that they’re going to be contributors to this community and this country.”

Marten must still be officially chosen by the school board in an open, public meeting. Evans said he plans to calendar the official appointment for the next meeting on March 5.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5670.

Like VOSD on Facebook.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

We’ll have more after this evening’s press conference

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at Voice of San Diego currently focused on local education. You can reach him at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5670.

Like VOSD on Facebook.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.

Will Carless

Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.