The Sweetwater Union High School District has a new interim superintendent it hopes will represent a clean slate after a seemingly endless scandal that ensnared four school board members and a former superintendent.
In a closed-door session last week, school board president John McCann and four temporary trustees picked Tim Glover as interim superintendent after Ed Brand, who took the district helm after former Superintendent Jesus Gandara was indicted in a pay-to-play scheme, was put on paid leave.
Glover has a long-standing relationship with the SUHSD as well as the Chula Vista Elementary School District, having served as principal at multiple schools and in various administrative roles. His most recent job was at the San Diego County Office of Education as assistant superintendent of student services and programs.
Here are the obstacles Glover – a South Bay native – will face during his next few months at the top.
A Ticking Clock
Glover will lead as superintendent until December, when five newly elected school board members will hire a full-time leader for the district.
Manny Rubio, grants and communications director for the district, said board members wanted to give an interim superintendent enough time to take stock of the current state of the district.
Whether Glover will be considered for the permanent job is up in the air.
McCann said the temporary board members have suggested kicking off a national search for candidates. McCann said the current board has opted out of hiring a new permanent superintendent to leave it up to the to-be-elected board.
“It’s common sense that the new board should be the ones to elect the full-time superintendent,” McCann said. “They should be a part of the process.”
Though Glover was appointed in a closed-door session, community members have been pretty receptive of the board’s choice. Mayor Cheryl Cox said at last week’s board meeting that there were cheers when it was revealed Brand would be placed on leave.
Building trust, Chula Vista leaders said, is key to community cooperation and support.
Cox has planned and hosted community meetings to address Chula Vistans’ concerns about the upcoming school board election this November. She said students, teachers and community members feel they’ve been left in the dark, and that the district has lacked transparency.
“I think Tim Glover is going to look at this knowing the anxiety the public felt was in not being heard,” Cox said. “I don’t think it will take a lot for him to arrive and be visible and make it clear he wants to be part of the community.”
“Glover will need to earn the respect of community members and convince them he is an unwaveringly ethical person and an ethical optimist,” said McCann.
Listening to Residents
Cox said people have told her they bought houses within the SUHSD boundaries but opted out of sending their kids to the scandal-plagued district.
Rubio said the district plans to piggyback on the mayor’s efforts and offer opportunities for public input in the coming months.
“We want to hear from the community what the issues are,” Rubio said. “Get away from the adult problems and focus on the kid problems.”
Voice of San Diego will be hosting a “Let’s Talk Chula Vista” event on Tuesday, July 29, at the South Chula Vista Library. VOSD CEO Scott Lewis will sit down with Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox and City Manager Gary Halbert to talk about issues impacting the South Bay, including the upcoming Sweetwater Union High School District board elections. Join the discussion. Register now.