Parents Protest Transfer of Performing Arts Principal

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Students protesting the departure of principal Mitzi Lizarraga outside San Diego Unified headquarters. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Parents protesting the departure of the long-time principal of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts expressed their anger Wednesday in an evening meeting with administrators.

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Mitzi Lizarraga left as principal just before graduation ceremonies in June, and the San Diego Unified School District subsequently announced her transfer. She had been principal for seven years.

Nearly 100 parents and students gathered with administrators at a meeting that was called for community input on the selection of a new principal. As the meeting began, many chanted, “We want Mitzi.”

“If we have a say in the community, we want Mitzi back,” said one parent.

“This is a difficult transition; I get that,” said Lamont Jackson, area 2 superintendent, explaining that it was a personnel matter, and adding, “I made a decision to move her to a district-level position.”

A number of parents asked at the meeting if trustee Marne Foster, whose son attends the school, was involved in the decision. Some asked for an investigation. Jackson said he couldn’t comment on “speculation and concerns and rumors.”

He said he hoped  a new principal would be in place when classes start in August, and said Lizarraga would help the district improve arts education throughout San Diego schools.

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