, , , , , , , ,

Marten Crest

In Part 1 we examined the existing credentials of Cindy Marten

In Part 2A, we looked at the potential motivations and justifications for the SDUSD Board of Education members (Beiser, Evans, Foster, Barrera, Barnett) to unanimously decide to select Cindy Marten without a shred of SDUSD Community collaboration and without many, if not all, of the credentials required to adequately lead the 2nd largest school district in California.

In Part 2B reviewed all the potential motivations and justifications for why Marten would even consider accepting a position in a secretive process without the required credentials and without any review by the groups she was supposed to ultimately lead…the Parents, Teachers, Students, Administrators, Site Staff and Communities

In Part 3 we will analyze the repercussions of the San Diego Board of Education hiring an unqualified, inept Superintendent candidate in Cindy Marten with virtually no community/professional vetting, collaboration or transparency thereby creating the “unholy alliance” of political expediency, greed, ego and mismanagement at the top levels in the SDUSD.

When Marten was assigned as Superintendent without a collaborative hiring process, many Stakeholders were shocked.  As outlined in Part 2A – Decisions – SDUSD Board of Education (https://districtdeeds.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/anatomy-of-a-failed-superintendent-part-2a-decisions-sdusd-board-of-education/), this highly unusual strategy for hiring had never before been used…for good reasons identified by Marten herself in her interview as shown in Part 2B – Decisions – Cindy Marten (https://districtdeeds.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/anatomy-of-a-failed-superintendent-part-2b-decisions-cindy-marten/)

Since that fateful and self serving decision made at the expense of over 107,000 students by Marten and Board Members Kevin Beiser, Marne Foster, John Lee Evans, Richard Barrera and Scott Barnett, we have identified 3 primary repercussions that have seriously undermined the education of ALL of our children and eliminated much of the trust established by previous Superintendents especially the principled and honest Bill Kowba.


Hiring a totally unqualified individual like Marten who operates like a puppet under the thumb of operationally involved Board Members has reduced the Superintendent to no more than a high priced Administrative Assistant.

  •  There is no pushback on Board operational intervention – it is allowed by Marten
  • There is no operational integrity – Marten is the queen of the Half Truth because she does not have the authority from the BOE to keep promises to Stakeholders…or even the skill and background to know what promises she should make.
  • There is no operational innovation – Marten does not even know the basics of large school district management proven by her actions and lack of credentials
  • There is no operational career path – unless you are willing to compromise your professional/personal beliefs, those with lesser ability skills and integrity will be promoted over you…just like Marten was over hundreds of more qualified candidates.

This Superintendent erosion has far reaching repercussions.

What if Marten gets the call she wants – “Let me check.  It’s Arne Duncan“ (http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/06/02/the-full-cindy-marten-interview-new-schools-chiefs-whole-take-on-her-big-task/)

The SDUSD Superintendent position, barring a complete turnover of ALL BOE members, can only be filled by another autocratic puppet like Marten.

Can you see an innovative, creative leader with the credentials of Bill Kowba, Terry Grier, or Carl Cohn accepting the existing plodding, submissive, oxen-like mentality of the current SDUSD Superintendent position?  Even though Marten has been called “Bersin in a skirt”, that is an insult to Alan Bersin since he has credentials far surpassing Martens’.

Marten is an equivalent to Bersin in only one way…her unilateral and non-collaborative, non-transparent decision making approach toward ALL SDUSD Stakeholders below the SDUSD BOE and her “Inner Circle” level.

Where Bersin adopted that “Monarch” like persona because he felt he knew it all and felt he had the power to enforce it, Marten has adopted the Monarch like persona as a surrogate because she knows very little and is subservient to a BOARD OF EDUCATION who think they know it all and actually have the power to enforce it.


We have already chronicled in the District Deeds blog the intentional “reassignment” of highly qualified Principals from highly performing schools that in some way offended a Board member or Marten, signaling their professional doom in the SDUSD.  Many of those highly qualified Principals and Administrators will go elsewhere, retire early or just ride their time out…”Keeping my head down and my mouth shut” as one administrator told me.


Closely following the appointment of Marten, a large number of collaborative Senior District Staff decided to not drink the Marten “cool-aid”

Nellie Meyer – Deputy Superintendent School Support Services – Took promotion out of SDUSD – One whose credentials put Marten to shame and should have been at least considered in an open process for the Superintendent position, moved 500 miles away to become Superintendent of the Mt. Diablo School District who was lucky to get her.  Her position was “melded into the new organizational structure” (see: http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/10/28/inside-san-diego-unifieds-brain-drain/)

Bernie Rhinerson – Chief of Staff – Retired – His position taken by Staci Monreal, a former Bersin devotee and minimally successful principal.  She is part of the secretive “inner circle”.

Stan Dobbs – CFO – Left for a job in Hayward

Phil Stover – Deputy Superintendent of Business – Stuck it out one more year and is retiring to Mexico.

Lamont Jackson – HR Head – Moved to Area 2 Area Superintendent– Drank the Marten “cool aid”.  Jackson, an accomplished administrator, has now been reduced to a “Used Car Salesman” by Marten as described in the following Blog Post:  https://districtdeeds.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/trust-us-or-how-the-sdusd-senior-leadership-team-turns-professional-educators-into-used-car-salespersons/


As positively spun by Maureen Magee,  Martens’ personal Press Secretary at the Union Tribune, those teachers leaving “will help San Diego Unified save millions, meet other goals” (see: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/may/23/472-teachers-retire-san-diego-unified/)

The key quote:  “With the early-retirement incentive comes some great opportunities,” said board President Kevin Beiser, who with trustee Marne Foster called for revisions to teacher recruitment practices. “When the pool of teacher applicants doesn’t change, the outcomes won’t change.  Change will come when we promote and advertise teaching to a more diverse universe.”  By the way, in another part of the article – “Those that are filled would generally be with new teachers that are lower on the pay scale.”

So let’s get straight what Beiser, Foster and the BOE are trying to sell through their surrogate puppet Marten and mouthpiece Magee, to all the SDUSD Stakeholders:

  • Changing the “pool of teacher applicants” from long term teachers to less experienced “new teachers” that get paid less provides better education for students.
  • The decision of the BOE to unilaterally place Marten at Superintendent with no promotion or advertisement of that position and the decision of Marten to unilaterally remove qualified Principals and ELST’s without promotion or advertisement is consistent with wanting to “promote and advertise teaching to a more diverse universe”.

With that disingenuous doubletalk no wonder 472 teachers took early retirement from this dysfunctional poorly led district…and took their years and years of advanced teaching skills directly away from the 107,000 SDUSD students.


The same UT article mentioned the trend of Student enrollment declining.

It says:

“The last retirement incentive in 2008 was taken by 618 teachers, just under the goal of 633. The incentive was opened up to other employees, with more than 1,040 workers retiring to generate $7.8 million in one-time savings and $20.9 million over five years.

Since then, student enrollment has fallen under a trend that is expected to continue.

Projections call for enrollment to decline from 107,456 students in district-run schools this year to 106,162 next year, and 104,554 in the 2014-15 academic year.”

The logic and leadership behind the SALES PITCH of the BOE and Marten apparently is:

“We offered early retirement in 2008 which, along with other reductions (eliminating Gate, 6th Grade Camp, ELST’s, Balboa Park, Old Town, etc) caused attendance to dip so we will DOUBLE DOWN ON EARLY RETIREMENTS and  REDUCE THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION even further BY REDUCING THE AVERAGE SKILL LEVEL OF TEACHERS.  TRUST US…this will IMPROVE THE SDUSD QUALITY OF EDUCATION”

To quote T. Boone Pickens: “I may have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night.”

For Stakeholders (Parents-Teachers-Students-Principals-Administrators-Staff-Community) being “sold” this ridiculous logic by an unskilled Superintendent and BOE and faced with rapidly decreasing “Quality of Education” for children, how can they recommend that a parent send kids to SDUSD schools?

The simple answer is:

They can’t, and won’t, so the downward spiral of SDUSD enrollment and quality of education for 107,000 will accelerate.

Send your “Thank You” notes to Marten, Beiser, Foster, Barrera, Evans and Barnett.

Coming up next, the final installment:  Anatomy of a Failed Superintendent – Part 4 – Final Dismemberment