New Superintendent to Lead San Marcos Unified School District into the Future

On April 20, 2021, the San Marcos Unified Board of Trustees approved an employment contract with long-time educator, Dr. Andy Johnsen, to serve as the District’s next Superintendent.  

Dr. Johnsen’s career spans twenty-seven years as a teacher, principal, director, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. Since 2017, he has served as Superintendent in Lakeside Union School District in east San Diego County. Before assuming the role of Superintendent, Dr. Johnsen led the district’s Educational Services Department as Assistant Superintendent. 

Dr. Johnsen’s journey in public education began in Los Angeles Unified teaching elementary students, working as a principal and assistant principal, and overseeing more than 100 independent charters as the district’s Charter School Division Director. In 2007, he and his family relocated to North San Diego County where he spent eight years as a principal in Poway Unified School District. In 2015, Dr. Johnsen was named Region 18 Principal of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA) for his visionary leadership and student-centric approach to his work. 

Throughout Dr. Johnsen’s storied career, he has undertaken an array of initiatives and outreach that have created an environment of collegiality with staff, families, and the community-at-large. Having worked in small, suburban, and urban districts makes him uniquely positioned for success in San Marcos. As a strong communicator and fluent Spanish speaker, he brings a deep sense of inclusivity and insight to the role. Dr. Johnsen’s ability to listen, build relationships and bring people together are trademarks that will elevate SMUSD’s mission to ensure all students are challenged, inspired, and poised to excel. 

“As we thoughtfully searched for our next superintendent, Dr. Johnsen’s humility, commitment, and focus on bringing all voices to the table made it clear to the Board that he is the right person for the job,” noted Board President Stacy Carlson. “Finding an experienced superintendent with a proven track record of success was a universal desire expressed by every stakeholder group who provided input during our extensive search. We are confident that Dr. Johnsen’s spirit of collaboration will lead SMUSD through these unprecedented times and beyond.”

The Board extends its appreciation to Dr. Johnsen and the other applicants who showed an interest in the position. Trustees also want to express their gratitude to SMUSD employees, parents, community members, and the ESS search advisers for their valuable feedback throughout this process. 

Looking ahead to his July 1st start date, Dr. Johnsen shared, “As a destination district, it brings me great joy to make San Marcos Unified my new home. I look forward to partnering with the Board, staff, students, families, and the greater community as we create our roadmap for an extraordinary future together.”

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