Board Brief

BOARD BRIEF: Top things to know from the February 9, 2023 Board Meeting
Posted on 02/10/2023

BOARD BRIEF: Top things to know from the February 9th San Marcos Unified Governing Board Meeting

February 10, 2023

1. Superintendent, Dr. Andy Johnsen shared a presentation to the Board and community. Dr. Johnsen provided an update to the Board and community about the work at the District regarding Student Voice. Dr. Johnsen shared examples of how students share their experiences and feedback with District leaders to enhance their educational experience. This included a recent presentation at the San Diego County Office of Education Equity Conference by San Marcos High School student, Angela Rico, a spotlight of a Student Voice video, as well as a recent Equity Event at Mission Hills High School.  

As Dr. Johnsen concluded his presentation, he noted, “education is not something that is happening to our kids, it’s happening with our kids.”  

2. Updates from the Deputy Superintendent & Assistant Superintendents. 

Educational Services Update 

Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Campbell, began her update by sharing how the District was featured on the national stage as the Knowledge Matters Campaign School Tour made a stop at San Marcos Middle School, to spotlight how they are transforming science instruction with the help of high-quality science curricula. 

Dr. Campbell also shared about the inaugural Rising Stars program with the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce. Each month a student from each high school will be selected as a San Marcos Chamber “Rising Star” and celebrated at a monthly breakfast at Palomar College. 

Dr. Campbell concluded by highlighting the celebration and surprise awards this week in honor of National School Counseling Week. The San Diego County Office of Education awarded Lezya Weglarz with the San Diego County Counselor Advocate of the Year, and The San Marcos Promise as the San Diego County Community-Based Organization of the Year. Dr. Campbell also expressed her gratitude to all SMUSD school counselors. 

Business Services Update 

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Erin Garcia, shared some exciting news that after a longer than anticipated delay due to supply chain issues and rain delays, Joli Ann Leichtag Elementary School now has their second new playground this year, which has been fully-installed and a welcomed addition for students and families.  

Human Resources Update

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Dr. Joel Garcia, began by sharing an update on employee wellness. Dr. Garcia explained that District and school site leaders, including school counselors and social workers, met to brainstorm ideas for how to provide ongoing wellness, support, connectedness and engagement to all employees throughout the District. Additionally, Lezya Weglarz, MTSS Coordinator and recent winner of the San Diego County Counselor Advocate of the Year award, provided training to the HR department about the new resource available for students, staff and families, Care Solace, to better expand this valuable resource to all staff.  

3. Student Board Representatives shared school updates. During the February 9th meeting, Student Board Representatives, Abby Coca from San Marcos High School, and Emily Crysler from Mission Hills High School, shared updates from their schools.

Coca’s presentation began by sharing about San Marcos High students recently attending the San Diego County Office of Education Equity Conference, as well as the California Association of Student Leaders Conference where they led small groups and made presentations to middle school students, including some at SMUSD. Coca also shared about recent ASB activities, Club and Elective Rush, Excalibur Knights taking a field trip to the Museum of Tolerance, recent wins for the Academic League, and a Sports Update.  

Crysler's presentation began by sharing a Sports Update, and the recent student-led School Supply Backpack Drive to benefit elementary students in need in SMUSD. Crysler also shared about the recent Disneyland trip for the Cardinal Alliance, an update on Academic League, and the CTE Careers in Education students who volunteer regularly at Richland Elementary School while simultaneously earn college credit. Crysler also shared how students are celebrating Black History Month, and concluded her presentation by expressing thanks to all the counselors in celebration of National School Counseling Week. 

4. Superintendent-Student Advisory Council Update. Student Board Representatives, Abby Coca and Emily Crysler, provided an update on the Superintendent-Student Advisory Council. 

The Council, started by Dr. Johnsen last school year, was formed to encourage student leadership and provide feedback to the Superintendent on the student experience. 

Coca and Crysler shared about utilizing the Superintendent-Student Advisory Council to engage more diverse student voices in this group. This Council is currently tackling issues at all three high schools including, student activism & student voice, cultural advocacy, inclusivity, and the Portrait of Graduate implementation. They are working to bring more students to this group each month to make more widespread changes on school campuses. 

5. Principal Update: Discovery Elementary School. Daphne Eby, Principal of Discovery Elementary School, shared an overview of the school and programs with Assistant Principal, Heather Hartzell, along with the Discovery Student Council President, Jencarlo Marquez. Principal Eby began by sharing the mission and vision of Discovery Elementary, some data about their school community and enrollment. Principal Eby also shared that they are extremely proud of their STEAM program which includes art, music, a makerspace and innovation lab.  

Assistant Principal Hartzell shared about Discovery focus areas which includes, Differentiated Instruction, Professional Learning Communities, School Culture and Family Engagement. 

Discovery Student Council President, Jencarlo Marquez, shared about school clubs, activities and about his amazing time as a student at Discovery Elementary.

6. Community Schools Update. Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Tiffany Campbell, presented an Update on the Community School Initiative at San Marcos Elementary School. Dr. Campbell began by defining a Community School, which is a collaboration of school & District resources, outside community agencies, and social services, to ensure students are whole and healthy so they can be prepared to learn and thrive academically. 

Dr. Campbell explained that SMUSD has received a California Community Schools Partnership Program (CCSSPP) planning grant to begin the process of transforming San Marcos Elementary into a Community School. San Marcos Elementary will use the CCSPP funding to enhance and elevate current practices, strategies, and partnerships to best meet the needs of students. 

7. Personnel Update. The Governing Board approved personnel updates which were shared during the meeting, including:

  • Principal, Mission Hills High School, Nathan Baker, was approved by the Board.
  • Assistant Principal, Mission Hills High School, Tina Hernandez, was approved by the Board. 


8. Gifts to San Marcos Unified School District. The Board also approved multiple gifts donated to the District from generous PTO organizations, community members, and businesses.   

For a complete and detailed overview of any of the items above, please see the full Board Meeting Agenda by clicking here.

For a link to the Board Briefs on the SMUSD website, please click here.

For a video of the Board Meeting, please click here.