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Ford serves as Bonsall HS interim principal

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Susan Ford was named interim principal for Bonsall High School.

“Just a tremendous educator and leader, comes to us with a tremendous amount of experience and we’re grateful for her serving in the interim role,” Joseph Clevenger, superintendent of Bonsall Unified School District, said.

Ford, who replaced Jason Fowler, retired as an educator before taking the interim principal position recently. She taught both English and music at La Costa Canyon High School from 1997 to 2003 and served as the English department chair. The San Marcos Unified School District opened Mission Hills High School in 2004 but hired administrative staff before that year, and Ford was an assistant principal at Mission Hills from 2003 to 2011.

Ford was a Vista Unified School District principal at Madison Middle School from 2011 until her retirement. Clevenger was a Vista Unified School District principal at Rancho Buena Vista High School from 2018 to 2021, when he replaced David Jones as the BUSD superintendent.

Bonsall High School and Sullivan Middle School are on the same campus. Sullivan principal Tim Heck was also the first Bonsall High School principal when the high school opened in August 2014. In August 2013, Janet Whiddon transitioned from the Sullivan Middle School principal to the district’s director of curriculum, and Heck was hired as both the Sullivan principal and the original principal of Bonsall High School.

Heck was involved in the planning of the new high school, and during that time the district chose to implement the New Technology Network model in which students interact with local industry and serve internships and which emphasizes interdisciplinary study. Heck remained as the Bonsall High School principal for the first 6 1/2 months of the school’s first actual year in operation before Lee Fleming took over in March 2015.

Fleming had been the New Technology Network director of new school development before accepting the position as the Bonsall High School principal, and she was originally hired by the New Technology Network as a senior school development coach in 2006. In 2018, Fleming accepted an offer to become the head of school, which is the equivalent of a principal, at Samueli Academy in Santa Ana.

The July 2018 BUSD board meeting included a 5-0 vote to choose Fowler as the new Bonsall High School principal. Fowler had previously been the principal at Nuview Bridge Academy in Nuevo; he was with Nuview Bridge Academy for 12 years and started as a teacher/dean before becoming an assistant principal and the principal.

Fowler left the Bonsall district for Imagine School, a K-8 charter school in Coachella.

“I just wanted to get experience with different grade levels and kind of stretch my wings a little bit,” Fowler said.

There is also an Imagine School in Hemet.

“I congratulate the new principal, and I know that the staff there at Bonsall High School is going to do great things,” Fowler said.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at [email protected].


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