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Education

San Diego Unified Selects Bill Kowba As Superintendent

Bill Kowba was picked on Tuesday afternoon to be the finalist in San Diego Unified’s quest for a new superintendent.
Bill Kowba was picked on Tuesday afternoon to be the finalist in San Diego Unified’s quest for a new superintendent.
San Diego Unified School District Selects Bill Kowba As Next Superintendent
The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education today selected Bill Kowba for the superintendent post.

The San Diego Unified School Board announced today that they picked William Kowba to be the district's next superintendent. The decision comes about one week early.

Kowba, a 58-year-old former Navy admiral, has been serving in the role in an interim basis since last year, and has won praise from both board members and staff.

The board was "very pleased and excited'' to make Kowba the remaining finalist, President Richard Barrera said.

Parents and teachers say he was a shoe-in for the job because he's been with the district several years. Kowba is the district's former chief financial officer.

Kowba has been called a trusted administrator, known for his honesty and accessibility.

School board members believe Kowba will bring the stability that the district desperately needs.

But Kowba is largely known for his talent with analyzing school budgets, not for his academic vision or reforms.

Outsiders say that’s the type of leader the school board is looking for.

Barrera has publicly said the district doesn’t want a big school reformer or change agent.

The board must still negotiate a contract with Kowba before the hiring decision can be formalized. But because he was long considered to be a front-runner for the job, the contract negotiations are expected to be a formality.

Kowba said he was honored to be selected and pledged "my faith and loyalty to this district.'' One of the qualities board members were looking for was a commitment to the district, which has had a revolving door at its top leadership position.

"I think we made the right choice, of the three (finalists), based on the totality of their experience,'' board member Katherine Nakamura said.

The other two finalists were the Debbra Lindo, chief executive officer of College Track, a Bay Area educational nonprofit, and former Hayward Unified School District Superintendent Dale Vigil.

Board member John Lee Evans said with "five fairly independent-minded members of the board,'' the decision was "not taken lightly or easily.''