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Meet Ken Noah,
SDUHSD Superintendent

September 2008 | By Susan Miller


The Sandpiper met with Ken Noah, the new Superintendent of Schools for San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD), which serves
middle- and high-school students in the area. Mr. Noah moved to Encinitas and started his position on July 1.

Please tell us about yourself.

Since 2002, I served as Superintendent of Schools for the Gresham-Barlow School District, in Gresham, Oregon, a district of 12,200 students – almost the exact size as SDUHSD. Prior to that, I served in school administration positions throughout the Portland and Redmond, Oregon areas. I was also a high-school history teacher.

I was born in California, but moved to Oregon when I was four and spent my lifetime there. My wife, Kim, is also an educator and was, until recently, a high-school principal in Oregon. She’s a significant influence in my life, both personally and professionally. 

What were some of the reasons you joined SDUHSD?

I wasn’t even thinking of moving, but through professional relationships, I became aware of the position in November. After a series of discussions, I was offered the position in February. Although leaving a lifetime of relationships and career accomplishments was a difficult choice, starting afresh is very invigorating. 

This is a district considered to be one of the highest performing so the opportunity here is to provide the kind of leadership that will take a great district to the next level. Having said that, doing so is also the greatest challenge I’ll probably face.

What do you find unique about SDUHSD?

One unique feature is that we offer residents a choice between the four high schools in the district. This is very healthy for SDUHSD and its schools. The notion of choice in a public-school setting gives residents a sense of empowerment and is a wonderful idea, developed and supported in the district.

What are your goals for SDUHSD?

My goal is to achieve clarity around a vision for 21st century learning and then work with school leaders to implement or refine what’s already in place in terms of systems, processes, practices and structures to make it all a reality. Pushing ourselves at what we’ve done well to do even better. Given the demands of the 21st century terrain with an increasingly competitive global economy, we cannot rest on prior accomplishments and success. My objectives are all around doing this work - putting into place strategic planning and specific action plans to take the district to the next level with a primary focus on student learning and achievement.



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