By Margie M. Palmer
GUHSD’s new superintendent looks ahead
It’s been less than a month since Dr. Timothy Glover stepped into the role of Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) superintendent, but one thing is for certain: He’s honored to have been selected to take the helm.
The longtime Santee resident is no stranger to the district. Not only has he had the opportunity to work with a number of GUHSD’s schools when he was working at the San Diego County Office of Education, his son graduated from West Hills High School in 2013, which allowed him to see the district as a consumer.
“I was impressed with the treatment and services my son experienced and I’m confident that’s happening with every student in the district,” he said.
In the past few weeks, the new superintendent has been meeting with staff and students and he’s already visited a handful of sites.
“Everyone is really focused on providing the best service possible,” he said, adding that he intends to build on the district’s vision to prepare students to be college career ready. Under his leadership, there will be no radical departure from the work the GUHSD has already been doing.
When it does come to implementing change, it will be “as needed and as appropriate,” he said, and will focus on enhancing best practices so the district is able to refine and enhance what the district is already doing.
Glover also understands that part of his role will involve building bridges, especially in light of the recent court battle with Alpine residents who wanted to form a unified school district with a high school built with GUHSD bond money.
In early May, a Superior Court judge ruled that GHUSD did not need to earmark $42 million to fund the construction of an Alpine high school, despite two bond measures that seemed to support that plan.
“As a district, we need to look at the commonalities that we share in any situation. All [the schools in GUHSD] have the same goal, to make sure students are prepared to the best of our ability. We need to make sure families are supported; we all have that in common,” Glover said. “We need to build on our strengths and our positive connections. It’s just like in any family; just because you have one disagreement that doesn’t mean you disagree on everything.”
He also notes that the district currently has 1,800 fewer students that did a few years ago, which is about the same enrollment as a high school. At the current time, he agrees there is a need to prioritize projects based on student enrollment needs, while at the same time, planning for when the numbers go back up.
“We could see a swing in enrollment in the next five to seven years. The drive for student demand drives our planning.”
Despite some of the recent dissention, he feels the work of the district as a whole is pointed in the right direction.
And while some have questioned whether the recent approval to implement trustee districts could impact the way the GUHSD Board of Education operates, Glover seems unconcerned.
“When I hear people talk about the trustee areas, the common theme is that while there may be an elected representative for a particular area, that representative will bring and use information from that area to make decisions based on the benefit of the district as a whole, not just one slice of the district,” he said. “Having representatives in all districts will help bring people together and will help bring in multiple points of view.”
For now, what he most wants to relay to GUHSD parents and students is how impressed he is with the components of the district as a whole.
“What I see is a theme of dedication. The students I’ve met with love where they go to school and the staff loves learning,” he said. “I live in this community with three other core cabinet members and we get a lot of positive, informal feedback when we’re out at Costco or at the supermarket and what I hear is positive. I recognize the dedication within the district and I hope to add value to that.”
—Margie M. Palmer is a San Diego-based freelance writer who has been racking up bylines in a myriad of publications for over a decade. Reach her at Margie@alumni.pitt.edu.