Cunningham elected to SSDA executive committee

Bonsall school district superintendent Justin Cunningham was elected to the Small School Districts’ Association executive committee April 11.

Cunningham replaces retiring Julian Union Elementary School District superintendent Kevin Ogden on the 14-member executive committee.

“It’s a great opportunity to help small districts throughout the state,” Cunningham said. “It definitely is a great opportunity to better serve Bonsall.”

The Small School Districts’ Association annual conference took place April 9-11 in Sacramento. “The Small School Districts’ Association has done a wonderful job of supporting small districts,” Cunningham said.

The Small School Districts’ Association was founded in 1983. “Most districts in the state are small,” Cunningham said.

In addition to providing information and other assistance to small school districts, the organization’s legislative advocacy activities ensure that waivers, exemptions, and other policies reflect the special circumstances of the state’s smaller school districts. “It’s a different world in small districts,” Cunningham said.

The 14 executive committee members include one founder and two other emeritus members along with the members elected at the association’s meetings. “They had asked me to consider it,” Cunningham said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to better serve my community.”

The executive committee meets four times each year. The committee will focus on the association’s priorities and directions for the upcoming year at its July meeting.

“I’m looking forward to his leadership. He’s going to bring some strengths and some knowledge to the board,” said Small School Districts’ Association executive director Debra Pearson, who served on the association’s executive committee when she was the superintendent of the Browns (Sutter County) and Wheatland (Yuba County) elementary school districts.

Cunningham is the only executive committee member from San Diego County. Prior to becoming the Bonsall Union School District superintendent in 2008, he spent 19 years with the San Diego County Office of Education as the director of small school district services. He was the principal and superintendent of the South Fork Union School District in Weldon, which is in Kern County, prior to the San Diego portion of his career.

At last year’s Small School Districts’ Association annual conference Cunningham received the Charles Binderup Award as the association’s outstanding superintendent of the year.

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