Tag Archives: SMUSD

San Marcos Unified School District is proud to announce District Employees of the Year

San Marcos Unified School District is proud to announce our three District Employees of the Year. Chosen from a group of SMUSD’s 2021-22 Employees of the Year from each department or campus, these three District Employees of the Year embody the passion and dedication to serving students and families and were nominated by their peers and supervisors:

Classified Employee of the Year: Ivy Keim, Occupational Therapist, Early Education Center
As an Occupational Therapist, Ivy brings her expertise to the youngest learners at SMUSD, providing meaningful interventions to develop their skills. Bringing a deep passion to her work, Ivy is known for always striving to do better which is only rivaled by her calming demeanor, kindness, and love for students. 
Certificated Employee of the Year: Kristen Engler, School Counselor, Richland Elementary
Returning to in-person learning posed some social emotional challenges and adjustments this year, and school counselor Kristen Engler never wavered in her support of students and staff alike. Throughout the process of guiding students through the transition, Kristen remained steadfast, always ready to help with kindness and empathy.

Administrator of the Year: Nathan Baker, Assistant Principal, Mission Hills High School
A dedicated and compassionate leader, Nathan is always ready and willing to do whatever is needed to create a safe, caring, and supportive environment for students and staff. An educator at heart, Nathan’s passion to see all students thrive has created lasting relationships and a culture of mutual respect on the Mission Hills campus.
For all of SMUSD’s 2021-22 Employees of the Year, please click here: https://www.smusd.org/news/what_s_new/s_m_u_s_d_employees_of_the_year

San Marcos Unified School District named 

2021-22 San Diego County “Race to Submit” 

District Champion 

The California Student Aid Commission announce winners, SMUSD ranked #1

The California Student Aid Commission (Commission) recently announced the winners of the Race to Submit statewide campaign, which aims to increase the number of financial aid applications for California high school seniors who complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application (CADAA). In San Diego County, San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) has been named a DISTRICT CHAMPION for having the Highest Percentage of FAFSA/CADAA completions at 66%, placing them in first place in San Diego County in the Small District Category. 

“We are thrilled to have placed first in San Diego County,” said Dr. Andy Johnsen, San Marcos Unified Superintendent. “This clearly illustrates both our commitment to ensuring our students are prepared after high school, as well as the dedication of our school counseling teams.”

Additionally, SMUSD’s San Marcos High School was also recognized as one of two schools in the entire state of California to win the Race to Submit Champion award for 5 consecutive years. 

To view the Race to Submit data and rankings, click here.

San Marcos High School JROTC Team to Compete in National Academic Bowl Championship in Washington, D.C. 

JROTC Team pictured from left to right: Cadet Paolo Castillo, Cadet Faith Duarte, Cadet Tiernan Clark, Cadet Anne Sun, Cadet Lyric Butler, Cadet Connor McCluskey.

San Marcos High School’s JROTC Academic Team recently participated in the 2021-2022 JROTC Leadership & Academic Bowl (JLAB), and after advancing through two intense phases of online competition, earned a spot to compete in a Championship event in Washington, DC. 

The 2022 U.S. Air Force JROTC Academic Bowl Championship will be held on the campus of The Catholic University of America, June 24-28, 2022. This event is sponsored by the U.S. Air Force JROTC and is conducted by the College Options Foundation.

San Marcos High School’s JROTC earned top scores out of the 582 Air Force JROTC academic teams that competed from around the world. The San Marcos High School team is one of only sixteen Air Force JROTC Academic Bowl teams in the nation to advance to the final competition, which includes an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC. 

During the two fast-paced preliminary rounds, cadets were tested on their knowledge of core curriculum such as math, science, and language arts as well as current events, citizenship, leadership skills, and financial literacy. Financial literacy videos are sponsored by the USAA Educational Foundation and provided to all cadets. Questions from the videos were included in Levels I and II of the online competition.

San Marcos Unified School District opens enrollment for all students for the 2022-23 school year 

Feb. 7 enrollment opens for TK-12, for current, new, and transfer students 

San Marcos, Calif. Feb. 7, 2022. The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) is opening school enrollment for all grades, including Transitional Kindergarten, or TK, for all students actively looking to return or join the award-winning school district.

“We invite the community to discover all San Marcos Unified has to offer,” said SMUSD Superintendent, Dr. Andy Johnsen. “As an award-winning school district, we know many families move to the San Marcos community and surrounding cities to join SMUSD, and we welcome and encourage that.”

SMUSD also believes that by opening school enrollment for all grades and to all students, helps make the process more convenient for parents. “By shifting to an open enrollment date for all students, including those who are looking to transfer into our district, helps provide a more streamlined process for families and staff,” said Dr. Tiffany Campbell, Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services.

New this year to California is the Universal Transitional Kindergarten program announced by Governor Newsom in July of 2021. The goal is to allow all 4-year-olds in California the opportunity to attend TK by the 2025-26 school year. The state is implementing this with a phased-in approach, where each year new groups of children will become age-eligible to enroll in TK, allowing schools to slowly expand their capacity to more students each year. This coming 2022-23 school year, TK is available to children who will have his or her fifth birthday between September 2, 2022 and February 2, 2023.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to continue to expand our TK program to our community and serve our families. Early childhood education is the foundation for a student’s academic development and provides benefits long into the future,” said Dr. Campbell. 

SMUSD will offer half-day TK, with a morning option or afternoon option, at every elementary school to students residing in the district. SMSUD will also be accepting requests for inter-district transfer students who are interested in attending an SMUSD school. 

For more information on enrollment, please visit: smusd.org/enrollment 

San Marcos Unified School District celebrates 

San Marcos Unified School District celebrates 

Career Technical Education Month 

Career Technical Education Month 

Through CTE courses and an innovative online tool, SMUSD helps students discover passions, college & career options

San Marcos, Calif. Feb. 3, 2022. The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) is  joining the national conversation to spotlight Career Technical Education, or CTE, along with their innovative online tool, the SuperStrong assessment, all to help students discover their passions and future options, including college and career.  

“When our students understand themselves and their passions, they move forward in college and career paths with purpose,” says Deputy Superintendent of Educational Services, Dr. Tiffany Campbell. 

What is CTE?

Career Technical Education (CTE) provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. In total, about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation.

In addition to 11 Career Technical Pathways offered at SMUSD, including Engineering, Agriculture, Criminal Justice, Healthcare, and Filmmaking, students also have access to, and are encouraged to take, the innovative online assessment, the SuperStrong. 

What is the SuperStrong assessment?

The SuperStrong online assessment helps identify students’ interests and match them to possible career pathways. The SuperStrong assessment is made available to SMUSD students through a partnership with the San Marcos Promise. All SMUSD high school students can take the SuperStrong assessment by clicking here.

“Through the combination of Career Technical Education, which provides students exposure to real-world skills and career exploration, along with the SuperStrong assessment, we provide a great launching pad for their future,” says Dr. Campbell.

For more information on enrollment, please visit: www.smusd.org 

San Marcos Unified School District is leading the way in making 21st century learning a reality for all students

The San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) is actively engaging the community in developing a Portrait of a Graduate, a collective vision that articulates the community’s aspirations for all San Marcos Unified students.

“Our mission is to ensure our students are challenged, inspired and poised to excel—as school leaders, we must continually ask ourselves what this looks like in our 21st century global economy,” said SMUSD Superintendent, Dr. Andy Johnsen. 

The district has recruited a dynamic Portrait of a Graduate Design Team, a working group of nearly 100 business & community leaders, local elected officials, parents, students and alumni, to discuss the relevant skills students need, and the aspirations our community has for our young people.

“We want to know what are the hopes, dreams, and aspirations our community has for our children, and what learning experiences will prepare them for the future—and we can’t do that alone,” says SMUSD Superintendent, Dr. Andy Johnsen.

Over the next few months this team will be meeting to embark on this important work which will help shape the future of education in San Marcos. 

The first meeting will be held tomorrow night:

Meeting Schedule:

Meeting 1: TOMORROW January 12, 2022, 5:30pm-8:30pm 

*Due to the recent COVID surges in our county and to provide the safest approach to our meeting, we will conduct this first meeting via Zoom.

Meeting 2: January 24, 2022, 5:30pm-8:30pm 

Meeting 3: February 9, 2022, 5:30pm-8:30pm 

Meeting 4: March 9, 2022, 5:30pm-8:30pm

“It’s essential that our district collaborates with our community to create a Portrait that describes what our students need to be ready for life,” said Superintendent Johnsen. “Success depends on more than just what you know, but also how you communicate, collaborate, innovate, and think critically.”

The district plans to share its progress of the Portrait of a Graduate work with families and community members. 

San Marcos Unified Announces Passing of Former Superintendent Dr. Kevin Holt

Superintendent Dr. Kevin Holt

San Marcos Unified Announces Passing of Former Superintendent Dr. Kevin Holt
Message from Superintendent Dr. Andy Johnsen on the passing of former Superintendent Dr. Kevin Holt

It is with great sadness that the San Marcos Unified School District announces the passing of beloved former superintendent Dr. Kevin Holt.

Dr. Holt retired as SMUSD’s superintendent in June 2017, after 14 years with the district. He was hired as SMUSD’s superintendent in 2007 after serving as Assistant Superintendent of

Human Resources for three years. Dr. Holt briefly returned to SMUSD as interim superintendent in late 2020.

Dr. Holt discovered his passion for education at an early age, working as an instructional aide at an elementary school when he was 18 years old. He earned his BA and teaching credential from California State, Long Beach. He held a master’s degree in Education Administration from CSU Los Angeles and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UC San Diego. Prior to joining SMUSD, Dr. Holt worked as a teacher and administrator for Long Beach Unified, Norwalk/La Mirada Unified and Temecula school districts.

As a lifelong educator, Dr. Holt was passionate about equity and access for all students. He co-chaired the San Diego County Office of Education’s Achievement Gap Task Force and helped form the San Marcos Promise Foundation, which provides scholarships and college admission support to SMUSD students. He was serving on the Board of the San Marcos Promise Foundation at the time of his death. Dr. Holt also served as a Board Member for the Boys and Girls Club of San Marcos. In 2015, Dr. Holt was honored with the Fran Aleshire Award for his outstanding leadership and regional involvement by the San Diego North Economic Development Council. His program Just Pick One was created to encourage North County educators and staff members to support and mentor a student. He led by example and continued to mentor students even after his retirement, making substantial progress towards closing the achievement gap in San Diego County.

Plans are being made to celebrate Dr. Holt’s life and legacy.

A bomb threat has forced an evacuation of San Marcos High School Tuesday afternoon

A bomb threat has forced an evacuation of San Marcos High School Tuesday afternoon. Please avoid the area. All students and staff have been evacuated to the fields. Traffic on San Marcos Blvd has been re-routed. Watch Ch 10 Facebook Live feed https://fb.watch/58dz7Af-XS/

UPDATE: 2:54 p.m.San Marcos High School students are being transported via bus to San Marcos Middle School (650 W. Mission Rd.) to be released to their parents/guardians who must show ID to pick up their child. Students must check out with school officials prior to being released. listed in the student’s Synergy profile and they must provide a valid picture ID upon pick up. Again, authorized adults must be present a valid picture ID or your student, regardless of age, will not be released to you. We appreciate your patience. Thank you.

From San Diego County Sheriff’s Watch Commander: Just before 1 p.m., @SDSheriff received a call about a pipe bomb at San Marcos High School in the 1600 block of W. San Marcos Blvd. Out of an abundance of caution, students & staff were evacuated to a safe location. No one has been hurt. Deputies, as well as Sheriff’s K-9s and dogs from other agencies, are conducting a thorough search of the campus. So far, no explosive devices have been found.W. San Marcos Blvd. between S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd. and Discovery St. is closed to traffic. EB traffic on W. San Marcos Blvd. is being diverted either north or south on S. Rancho Santa Fe Rd. WB traffic on W. San Marcos Blvd. is being diverted south on Discovery St.Please avoid the area around San Marcos High School until further notice. Follow us at @SDSheriff for the latest updates. We thank the public and the media for their cooperation.

Update – After an extensive search, no suspicious devices were located


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.”

Sign up for San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum San Marcos Unified School Board

Candidate Forum San Marcos Unified School Board 10 7 2020 via zoom
Date: October 7, 2020
Time: 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM PDT
Event Description:

San Marcos Unified School Board Candidate Forum

The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Virtual Candidate Forum for San Marcos Unified School Board Candidates on Wednesday, October 7th from 5:00 – 6:30 PM.

This free event provides a forum that gives voters the opportunity to meet each of the attending candidates running for School Board, and learn about their positions on various school-related topics.

Voters in San Marcos Unified School District will vote for one trustee for each of the three areas.

  • Area A Candidates Joseph Lai, LeeAnne Leon, Jay Ross, and Carlos Ulloa
  • Area B Candidates Sarah Ahmad, Brian Epperson, and Pamela Lindamood
  • Area C Candidates Jamie Chamberlin and Victor Graham

All candidates with the exception of LeeAnne Leon have confirmed their attendance.

Questions for the candidates must be sent in advance to Rick@sanmarcoschamber.com, and received by September 30th. Questions that will be asked during the candidate forum will be selected by the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

« Older Entries
%d bloggers like this: