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Marten Crest

Cindy Marten is in the top position in the second largest school district in California.

Lots of pressure…lots of complex issues…lots of moving parts.

Precisely the reason that only someone fully armed with ALL the credentials, experience, education, Integrity, aptitude and ability  listed in the job description should be placed in that role.

Marten seems to be a decent human being and by some accounts, brilliant in many ways.  According to her biography on the SDUSD website, her positions prior to assuming the Superintendent role in 25 years as an educator include:

Poway Unified School District approximately 15 years:

  • Elementary School Teacher
  • School-wide Literary Specialist

San Diego Unified School District – approximately 10 years:

  • Elementary School Teacher – 3 years
  • K-5 Elementary Principal – 4 years

Essentially Marten has spent only 4 years out of her 25 year career managing a group older than 10 year old students...and that was only managing approximately 25 teachers and staff, 800 Students, with a budget of $5 million!

Here is the Central Budget:  Central Elementary Budget 2011-2012

The first line under “Education and Experience” in the “Superintendent of Public Education” job description says:

“Experience which demonstrates the knowledge, skills and abilities equivalent to at least 5 years experience in senior management of a large and complex organization such as a large, culturally diverse urban school district.”  

Here is the full description:  SuptofPublicEducation

It is obvious that her credentials do not qualify as “equivalent to at least 5 years experience in senior management of a large and complex organization such as a large, culturally diverse urban school district.”

There are many of the 1/3 of the SDUSD principals that Marten “re-assigned” in the last 13 months that have credentials that put hers to shame…including the Principals at SCPA (https://districtdeeds.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/attention-superintendent-cindy-marten-board-members-beiser-barnett-barrera-evans-foster-principal-credentials-required-at-scpa/) and Lincoln.

How in the world do those credentials qualify Marten for the SDUSD Superintendent position over 13,559 Employees including 6,500 Teachers, 112 Departments and 132,000 Students*? (*source: http://www.sandi.net/page/21) and a budget of $1.2 BILLION!

To give some context on this HUGE disparity between her credentials and the experience requirements to be successful, the following is a chart I call “The Marten Leap” that show how many times larger the Superintendent positiion is than ANY experience she has had in the past:

Central Elementary SDUSD Times Larger
Students                         800                      132,000 165
Budget  $5,000,000  $1,200,000,000 240
Staff 25  13,559 542

Another way to look at it is the following comparison:

Using the LOWEST ratio above, the Student population disparity of 165 times larger, promoting Marten from Central Elementary Principal with 800 students to SDUSD Superintendent with 132,000 students is equivalent to…

Promoting the President of San Diego City College with 15,558 students to the Chancellor of the California State University System which includes 23 campuses (including San Diego State, CSU Northridge, San Jose State, etc) and  446,530 students…AND THEN MULTIPLYING THAT STUDENT POPULATION 5 1/2 TIMES TO  2,475,000 STUDENTS! (source: http://www.calstate.edu/as/stat_reports/2013-2014/f13_01.htm).  The sad thing is that the President of City College would actually be better prepared than Marten in the corresponding role because she at least would have administrative experience over multiple non-education related departments (Facilities, IT, Custodial, Contractors, etc) and complete budget oversight WHICH MARTEN DID NOT WHEN ASSUMING HER NEW ROLE. 

So why would the SDUSD School Board push Marten, clearly unprepared and unsuitable for the role,  into the Superintendent position in a “highly unusual – virtually unheard of” way as described by the extremely SDUSD friendly Maureen Magee at the San Diego Union Tribune (http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/feb/28/tp-board-picks-principal-as-unifieds-new-leader/) with virtually no community input or search procedure?

And why would a smart, successful educator choose to accept a position that was clearly beyond her credentials and capabilities, proven by almost every ill advised action taken in the past 13 months including removing 1/3 of the Principals (many of which have better credentials than Marten) and victimizing the poorest and weakest voices in the SDUSD-the ELL and Free and Reduced Lunch Students while advocating for the most well off – the La Jolla Cluster Association?

NEXT: Anatomy Of A Failed Superintendent – Part 2A – Decisions – Board of Education