During the Coronado Unified School District’s Board of Trustees meeting held Thursday, Nov. 19. 2015, Superintendent Dr. Jeff Felix announced his retirement effective July 1, 2016, meaning he will continue to serve in his current position through the end of the current school year. The move was somewhat surprising, as during the Board meeting of June 25, 2015, it was announced that Felix had agreed to a three-year contract extension that would run through June 30, 2018. His annual base salary totals $212,400, plus an auto allowance for travel within San Diego County.
In a statement that he read to the Board under the ‘Superintendent’s Comments’ portion of the meeting agenda, Felix said, “After 30 years of serving children in private and public education, I am retiring from public education. I am making this announcement early in the year so the Board will have ample time to find a suitable replacement for a smooth transition. I have been blessed beyond measure to serve as the educational leader for one of America’s most outstanding communities. I have valued my work and the relationships built with our amazing students, teachers, staff, administrators, parents, faith leaders, business leaders and elected officials. However, my success has been as a result of the success of our staff. Thank you all for your dedication and hard work. Over the remaining months, I look forward to completing the many tasks that are still progressing.”
Felix concluded his prepared statement by saying, “When I finally walk away from this community, I know that I will leave this district a better organization than when I arrived. It is with great pride that I thank everyone involved for the guidance and support given to me during my superintendency.”
The Board will vote during their regular meeting Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, on accepting Felix’s resignation. Possible candidates for the superintendent position could include former CHS Principal Karl Mueller, who is currently the principal at Canyon Crest Academy, part of the San Dieguito Union High School District.
Felix earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of California San Diego, San Diego State University and California State University San Marcos. He was named Superintendent of the Year in 2013 by the Association of California School Administrators and the California School Boards Association. He also serves as the Chairman of the San Diego CIF Board of Managers. On a lighter note, in an attempt to save Felix from a fine at his next meeting, Felix is a card-carrying member of the Rotary Club of Coronado.
Later in the meeting, Coronado Middle School Principal Jay Marquand, who had just completed a presentation to the Board which highlighted the achievements of the students at his school, announced that he was leaving CUSD. Marquand has accepted a position with the Sweetwater Union School District as Director of Alternative Programs and will start his new position January 1, 2016.
Marquand earned his undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara and his Doctorate of Leadership studies from USD. He served in the Coronado School District for 14 years. Marquand said in a prepared statement, “While I am sad to leave my friends and colleagues in Coronado, I know that I will leave the district and the middle school with great pride for what has been accomplished. Alternative learning has always been a strong passion of mine and I am excited for this next chapter in my professional career. I’m indebted to so many incredible students, staff, parents and community members who have made my experience in Coronado a lifelong memory. I will cherish those memories and reflect fondly upon them as I move forward in both my professional career and my personal life.”
Simultaneously with Marquand’s announcement came a statement from Felix that CMS Asst. Principal Karin Mellina would be named to fill Marquand’s position on an interim basis. “I fully expect to name Karin as the permanent replacement for Dr. Marquand,” said Felix. “It is important for me to talk with the staff and have this decision be a collaborative one.”
Mellina completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of London. She also holds a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and an M.A. in Education. Mellina taught at the elementary and middle school levels prior to pursuing a career in educational administration.
The departures of Felix and Marquand followed an announcement during the October 15, 2015, CUSD Board meeting that Asst. Superintendent of Student Services Richard Erhard was retiring at the conclusion of the school year. For a small school district, that represents a lot of movement in major positions, within a short period of time.
In other Board actions taken during the meeting:
• Erhard announced the reforming of the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) in the district. Board members include Co-Presidents Faith Peterson and Rita Alipour, Vice President Heather Barnett and Corresponding Secretary Elizabeth Wampler. Barnett was unable to attend the meeting, but the other three officers addressed the Board and expressed a willingness to address any special education challenges the district currently faces. Wampler said, “The new beginning of SEPAC is going to dazzle us all. I want to tell the community about the spectacular kids who are meaningful to every one of us.”
• An agenda item brought forward to the Board by the district staff and presented by Assoc. Superintendent of Business Services Dr. Keith Butler, requested the addition of two full-time employees for the district, which he described as being ‘cost-neutral.’ The positions include a Journeyman-level Maintenance Worker and an Accountant II positon in the District Office. Benefits of creating the latter position include enhanced service levels for school sites and reduced overtime expenses. After discussing the request for nearly 50 minutes, action on the request was deferred to the Dec. 10, 2015 meeting.
• As part of the Consent Calendar, the Board approved an agreement with the California School Employees Association and Coronado Chapter 386. CSEA President John Bonnett said the proposal, which calls for a 5.3 percent across the board raise on the classified salary schedule effective July 1, 2015, passed by a vote of 63-0. He thanked the Board of Trustees and the CSEA Negotiating Team for their efforts in reaching an agreement.
As noted above, the next meeting of the CUSD Board of Trustees is slated for Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, at 4 p.m. The Board meetings are held at the CUSD District Office, located at 201 Sixth Street in Coronado.