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San Diego Unified chooses Kowba, a retired Navy admiral and insider, as superintendent

A retired Navy officer, William A. Kowba, will become the next superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District, the state’s second-largest school system with 131,500 students.

That scenario might sound familiar: In late 2006, the Los Angeles Unified School District tapped retired Adm. David L. Brewer as its leader. Support for Brewer faded quickly with the election of a new school board majority and with critics asserting that he was hamstrung by a lack of relevant experience. The Board of Education bought out the final two years of Brewer's four-year contract.

Kowba, 58, has reportedly never taught a class, but he does have some advantages that Brewer lacked. For one thing, he’s familiar with the local school system. He started with the district in 2006 as chief financial officer. Since then, he’s served successively as interim chief administrative officer, interim superintendent, chief logistics officer and chief special projects officer. The former one-star Supply Corps admiral began his second stint as interim superintendent in September.

Along the way, Kowba has been in and out of favor under successive superintendents, insiders said, but consistently won praise for integrity and straight dealing.

"I'm certainly honored that the board has had the confidence in me to go forward in this process," Kowba said in a district release. Kowba and the San Diego Unified Board of Education still have to negotiate a contract.

In an unusually open process that included a public interview, Kowba competed with two other finalists: Debbra A. Lindo, chief executive of College Track, an Oakland-based pre-college program for students in the Bay Area and New Orleans; and Dale W. Vigil, former superintendent of the Hayward Unified School District.

San Diego Unified has been pulled in sharply different directions in recent years under three superintendents while the teachers union and business groups have battled to have their allies in control of the board.

-- Howard Blume

Comments () | Archives (2)

Immagine if a police department hired a chief who had no experience as a patrol officer. Or if a large company hire a CEO with no business experience. Why would a school district hire a superintendent with no teaching experience? LBUSD, one of the best urban districts in the country has a superintendent with teaching experience. He still even subs from time to time in the district to keep in touch with reality.

Why would such a qualified individual want to put himself into be the Asst. Supertindent and potential successor to Ramon Cortines who is a very good Supertindent when the Board is (4 pf 7) are politically motivated and use Children as a vehicle to promote their own agendas and are backed by the Teachers Union which is all about Benefits, Control and will totally stop any attempt at trying to impose Teacher Performance Grading or any challenge to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It is a 24/7 job and Cortines has done as well as some but he has had to sacrafice his life for he is at the desk 24/7 and the board is abusive and Political and not fighting for the Education Mission as anyone can see if you go to their Board Meetings.

S. Gordon


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