Superintendent finalists
Superintendent finalists Dr. Lamont A. Jackson (left) and Dr. Susan Enfield.

The San Diego Unified School District board announced Tuesday that the two finalists for superintendent are interim head Dr. Lamont A. Jackson and Dr. Susan Enfield of the Highline district in suburban Seattle.

The two candidates will participate in community forums that will offer the public opportunities to engage with them before the board selects the next permanent superintendent to succeed Cindy Marten, who was named deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

Enfield has served as superintendent for Highline Public Schools since 2012. A high school English teacher, Enfield was chief academic officer and then interim superintendent for Seattle Public Schools before coming to the Highline district in the Seattle suburbs. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and earned degrees from Stanford and Harvard universities. She was recently named Washington State Superintendent of the Year for 2022.

Jackson grew up in San Diego and has been an employee of the district for more than 30 years. He was a teaching assistant, teacher and coach before serving as principal at Montgomery, Challenger and Wangenheim middle schools and ultimately Area 2 Superintendent. He graduated from San Diego State University and holds a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of San Diego.

“As our advisory committee led a robust community engagement process, we learned a lot about what the public expects from the superintendent and what it envisions for the San Diego Unified School District.” said Richard Barrera, president of the board of education. “These incredibly qualified candidates are the result of that community process, and each of them meets the qualifications and characteristics the public told us they are looking for.”

Community forums for the public to engage with the finalists will be held on Jan. 10, including events at Logan Memorial Educational Campus and Patrick Henry High School. Details about the forums will be posted on the superintendent search webpage.

The board is scheduled to appoint a permanent superintendent in January, with a formal introduction of the superintendent set for Jan. 18 at the state of the district address.

“I would like to thank all the parents, students, employees and community members who have participated in this superintendent search process,” said Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne, vice president of the board of education. “I also invite everyone to stay involved during this final portion of the search process because your voices are critical.”

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.