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Jones selected as BUSD superintendent


Last updated 8/20/2017 at Noon

New Bonsall Unified School District Superintendent David Jones, speaks after the approval of his employment contract during an Aug. 9 BUSD board meeting. Shane Gibson photo

David Jones has been selected as the new Bonsall Unified School District superintendent.

Jones, who has spent the past six years as the superintendent of the Vallecitos School District and the principal of Vallecitos School, will replace Justin Cunningham, who retired July 31. A 5-0 Bonsall Unified School District board vote Aug. 9 approved a three-year contract for Jones which will pay $165,000 annually along with benefits and reimbursements.

"I can't wait," Jones said. "I'm real excited about it. I think Bonsall's a wonderful community."

The school district began a nationwide search for a new superintendent, and the process included input from stakeholders. Board special meetings were convened to interview applicants.

"I walked away from the first interview and it was just a good time, a good feeling," Jones said. "I connected well with the board."

The final interviews took place in mid-July. "The interview process was pretty rigorous in the way they approached it," Jones said. "They have high expectations for their community."

Prior to 2014, when the Bonsall district transitioned from a K-8 elementary school district to a K-12 unified district, both the Bonsall district and the Vallecitos district fed into the Fallbrook Union High School District so Jones previously worked with the Bonsall district in his capacity with Vallecitos.

"They have very dedicated teachers," Jones said of the Bonsall district.

"I felt very excited about the Bonsall community. I felt it's a tight-knit close community," Jones said. "I feel that I can be a good servant leader in their community."

The Vallecitos School District is one of four in San Diego County with only one school and a superintendent who also serves as the principal [the other three are the Spencer Valley (Santa Ysabel), San Pasqual, and Dehesa districts]. The Bonsall Unified School District has five schools: Bonsall High School and Sullivan Middle School currently share a campus and the district also includes Bonsall Elementary School, Bonsall West Elementary School, and Vivian Banks Charter School.

"I like the size and diversity of it," Jones said. "It's not so large that I won't be able to get out and get into the schools and the community."

Jones began his education career as a teacher in Minnesota, where he taught for seven years. His sister lives in Carlsbad, so he moved to Southern California to serve as an assistant principal in the Orange Unified School District in Orange County. Jones was the assistant principal for three years and then moved to Solana Beach to become the principal of Carmel Del Mar Elementary School in the Del Mar Union School District. He was at Carmel Del Mar for seven years before taking the Vallecitos position in 2011 after Paul Cartas retired.

"This was a perfect next step for me," Jones said of the Bonsall position.

"I felt I was ready for a new challenge," Jones said. "I told them at the interview that I have a lot of years left in education and my job serves a great purpose in my life."

Jones played collegiate baseball at the University of North Dakota and played minor league baseball in the Northern League before beginning his education career. Vallecitos School has a program in which students compete in athletic tournaments against other nearby schools.

Bonsall High School joined the CIF San Diego Section in 2015, so Jones' oversight activities will include interscholastic athletics. "It will be different for sure. I'm looking forward to that," he said.

The CIF Board of Managers includes a representative from each public school district with CIF membership along with one representative from Diocese-affiliated Catholic schools, one from a Catholic non-Diocese school, and one representing all other private schools. Cunningham had been Bonsall's representative on the Board of Managers.

The superintendent may be the Board of Managers representative, although some districts send other administrators to the Board of Managers meetings. No decision has been made on whether Jones will replace Cunningham on the CIF Board of Managers, and Jones wasn't even informed of that possibility when he was hired. "That will be new for me," he said.

Bonsall High School opened in 2014 with ninth-graders only and has expanded by a grade a year. The 2017-18 school year will be the first with seniors and with a graduation ceremony. "I'm real excited about that," Jones said.


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