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San Dieguito Union school board fires superintendent without cause

After months of controversy, the San Dieguito Union High School District has fired its superintendent.

The termination of Cheryl James-Ward happened following a special board meeting Sunday. The board distributed a brief news release through email to the media after that meeting. It said, “The San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) Board of Trustees today (June 26) unanimously approved the termination of Dr. Cheryl James-Ward as Superintendent, without cause, effective August 15, 2022. The Board wishes Dr. Ward well in her future endeavors.”

The statement also said Tina Douglas will continue to serve as interim superintendent, a position she’s held since Ward was put on administrative leave on April 22.

The administrative leave followed comments Ward made during a district diversity training. She apologized for the comments many people considered insensitive to the Asian community.

Ward is out of the country with her family in London this week.

“I've put my job on the line to make decisions in the best interests of the district, standing against those with nefarious intentions," she told KPBS. "Sometimes that will cost you your job. I would make the same decisions again because my heart is with kids and our community.”

"My client and I will now take time to consider our options," said Josh Gruenberg, Ward's attorney, following the termination announcement on Sunday.

Michael Allman, vice president of the school board, said that given this is a personnel matter, no further information will be provided at this time.

Interim Superintendent Tina Douglas released a statement to parents and students:

"I know this has been a difficult time for our district, and I want to assure our families that our staff continues to be committed to our students. In an effort to provide some stability, I have agreed to continue to serve as the Interim Superintendent through June 30, 2023. This will allow the Board to conduct a thorough search process with staff, student, and community input and the hopes of a permanent Superintendent in time for the start of school in the Fall of 2023. In the coming months, the Board will develop a timeline for the selection process.

"I hope you are able to continue to enjoy some family time this summer and we look forward to having your students back in August.

"It is my honor to work for you!"

San Dieguito Union school board fires superintendent without cause