Interim superintendent, two others to face public on Thursday for SD schools post


Interim San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill Kowba was named a finalist for the permanent position Wednesday night, along with a former Northern California superintendent and the chief

executive officer of an educational non-profit group.

Kowba has been considered the front-runner for the job since Terry Grier left for Houston last year. He has continuously been praised by school trustees and staff, a far cry from his often-embattled predecessor.

Kowba’s hiring “was by no means a done deal,” board President Richard

Barrera said.

Kowba is a 30-year Navy veteran who has been with the district since 2006.

The other finalists announced at a news conference held by the Board of Education are Dale Vigil, superintendent of the Hayward School District from 2005-2009 and a local area superintendent in Los Angeles for five years before that, and Debbra Lindo, the head of College Track, which improves educational opportunities for underprivileged high schoolers in the Bay Area. She previously led school reform efforts in Oakland.

Vigil led the district through a rancorous teachers strike in 2007.

Barrera said Vigil left when the makeup of the Hayward school board changed.

“Each of these three candidates has qualities our community have deemed important,” Barrera said. Those include an ability to manage a large and complex organization, understand student academic needs, know how to deal with the district’s stakeholders, and show a commitment to the district in order to provide leadership stability, he said.

Barrera said all three are engaging people who know how to bring others into the decision-making process.

The candidates will go before the public and take questions at a forum

Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Eugene Brucker Education Center.

Barrera said he hopes a final hiring decision will be made by June 29.

Barrera said 37 people applied for the job, and seven were referred to

trustees by a citizen task force.