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San Diego Unified School District has announced that superintendent Bill Kowba will step down on June 30, following the conclusion of the 2012-2013 school year.

Kowba’s departure will set the district to work in seeking its sixth head since 2005, when Alan Bersin was tapped by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to become the state’s Secretary of Education.

“It is only after extensive reflection with my family and great mixed emotions that I have formally notified the Board of Education of my decision to retire on June 30, 2013,” reads a statement from Kowba released on February 26. “In the months ahead, I will have opportunities to thank all of you for your support, loyalty, and commitment to our San Diego Unified mission. But one can never thank enough those who have dedicated themselves to singular sacrifice and collaboration on the incredible journey of the past seven years.”

Before being appointed superintendent in 2010, Kowba served positions as the district's chief financial officer, chief special projects officer and chief logistics officer. Prior to his tenure with San Diego Unified, he was a Navy supply corps officer.

Kowba was seen as an unusual pick when selected as superintendent after serving in the position on an interim status, as his background was in finance, rather than education. But he ended up leading the district through one of the worst budget shortfalls in history, a period of time when over a dozen schools were potentially slated for closure after state funding cuts.

Plans and a time line for selecting Kowba’s replacement to run the 135,000 student district have yet to be announced.

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Visduh Feb. 27, 2013 @ 12:24 p.m.

He may not have been the best superintendent in the history of the district, but he surely wasn't the worst. I fear the person they'll find to replace him. Too many of the career administrators are simply climbers who move along fast enough to avoid living with the consequences of their bad choices and managerial incompetence. Kowba wasn't trying to create a personality cult, such as did the infamous Ken Noonan in Oceanside, and for that matter, Ed Brand of Sweetwater/San Marcos/Sweetwater. This guy was proudly colorless and avoided the limelight, instead of basking in it. Perhaps he was about as good as they will ever get for the position. Anticipate a costly "national search", and a hire from outside the area. That successor will likely want a much fatter salary and get it, and will tear down the good things he has created.


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