SDUHSD board unanimously selects new superintendent

Following a five-month search, the SDUHSD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the selection of Dr. Anne Staffieri (‘86) as the new SDUHSD superintendent at a board meeting on May 17.

Staffieri’s four-year contract will officially begin on July 18.

Since April 2022, Tina Douglas, the district’s former Associate Superintendent of Business Services, has served as interim superintendent. Douglas replaced the district’s previous leader, Dr. Cheryl James-Ward, who was fired in June after comments she made about Asian students were deemed insensitive by the public. Upon the official start of Staffieri’s tenure, Douglas will return to her position in business services.

During the May 17 board meeting, board trustees said that they selected Staffieri due to her “honest and heartfelt approach to leadership.”

TPHS Principal Rob Coppo also expressed confidence in Staffieri as the new superintendent.

“I think she’s incredibly well qualified,” Coppo said. “She’s a product of the community, so she knows this area really well.”

After graduating from TPHS, Staffieri remained in education, teaching biology and Spanish for more than 30 years. She joins SDUHSD as a seasoned superintendent, having served Ramona Unified School District from 2016 to 2019 and Escondido Union High School District from 2019 to 2023.

“As a product of SDUHSD and a graduate of TPHS, returning to SDUHSD as the superintendent brings my educational journey full circle,” Staffieri said.

During her time at TPHS, Staffieri played on the basketball, field hockey and softball teams. She was also a member of drama and choir.

TPHS Student Board Representative Julia Liu (12) has many hopes for what will be accomplished with Staffieri as superintendent.

“We’ve had a lot of divisions, both with the last superintendent and then with finding a new superintendent,” Liu said. “One thing that we wanted to work on going forward is rebuilding trust in the district.”

Liu attributed the lack of trust to division over school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic and a high turnover of superintendents in the past few years.

Liu looks forward to a “more united” district under Staffieri.

Coppo believes that having a consistent superintendent will help SDUHSD to have a common vision to “support our kids.”

“I really hope that she comes in to guide us through one of the more challenging phases of education… as we try to address [phones and technology] that has affected us so deeply,” Coppo said.

Staffieri said that she would be working closely with the board and listening to the community in order to establish goals.

In order to address district issues, Staffieri said that she would first have to assess current practices before forming a proper course of action for the future.

“I think she’s going to help bring fresh eyes to our processes, help our board be better … and be a good rep for the rest of the staff, district-wide,” Coppo said.

A conversation with Dr. Anne Staffieri

After the approval of her employment, the Falconer spoke with Staffieri to learn more about her educational values.

What is your teaching philosophy?

“ As an educator, I have a moral imperative to provide the very best educational opportunity for all students. Given that every student learns differently, this means that it is up to me to create opportunities for learning that are engaging and supportive to reach every level of learner. I have an open mind, a positive attitude and consistent high expectations for student learning.”

What qualities do you think are important in educators?

“ It is critical for educators to have mastery of the subject matter being taught. They need to have a passion for students and for creating positive classroom environments where students have fun learning and have the confidence and support needed to achieve success.”

What aspects of our campuses make our district strong?

“High-quality academics, athletics, and extracurricular opportunities. The community support is incredible and our dedicated staff is amazing. Our students are inspirational. I have had some limited opportunities to speak with students and can’t wait to meet with more.”

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