Sweetwater in the News
from SUHSD website

Experienced Curriculum
Expert Hired to Oversee
Sweetwater Instruction

Dr. Dianna Carberry new
Assistant Superintendent
of Curriculum and

Dianna Carberry is no
stranger to San Diego
County’s educational
system. With degrees from
the University of San
Diego and Pt. Loma
Nazarene College and
professional experience
gained at several area
high schools, Carberry
knew about Sweetwater’s
large and successful
district even before she
applied to be the district’s
lead on developing
curriculum and enhancing

“When I was principal at
Orange Glen High School,
we often looked to
Sweetwater to see what
the district was doing in
terms of special
programming and
funding,” Carberry said as
Sweetwater’s new
Assistant Superintendent
of Curriculum and
Instruction. “In studying
programs like AVID and
English Language
Learners, I learned the
district was engaged in
very positive activities for
its students.”

For a guide to success in
her current position with
the largest secondary
school district in
California, Carberry can
call on her experience
directing curriculum,
instruction and
assessment at Orange
Glen. In this role she
oversaw textbook
adoption, curriculum
writing, staff development
and curriculum mapping—
much of the same
responsibilities she will
have with Sweetwater.

“We are very pleased to
have someone with Dr.
Carberry’s credentials and
experiences join our
Sweetwater leadership
team,” said district
Superintendent, Dr. Jesus
Gandara. “Dr. Carberry
will play a major role in
ensuring our students are
receiving the most current
classroom content and
finest instruction possible.
She is a terrific addition.”

Carberry’s work with
teachers and
administrators will have a
direct impact on what
Sweetwater students learn
in the classroom. She
describes her role as
assisting in the
development of systems
that provide schools the
support they need to
positively impact what
happens to students in the

“Most notably, the goals
for this position will be to
see that all kids pass the
CAHSEE and that every
school meets its targets
each year,” Carberry said.
“It is critical that we do
everything possible to
instill hope and a sense of
accomplishment in all
students while preparing
them for life after

Carberry has hit the
ground running as a
member of Sweetwater’s
leadership team. Her fresh
perspective was a real
benefit to the development
of the district’s new
strategic plan and she will
play an important role in
the implementation of
many of the plan’s
strategies. She looks
forward to the
opportunities for
collaborating with
teachers, staff, parents
and community members
to meet the plan’s

“I’ve been struck by the
friendliness of people and
how willing they are to
lend support,” Carberry
said. “I am very excited to
be with Sweetwater.”
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Dianna Carberry, school administrator
leaving Orange
Glen High

By Blanca Gonzalez

September 30, 2005

Carberry, principal at
Orange Glen High
School, has resigned to
accept a position with
Moreno Valley Unified
School District.

Carberry said she will be
moving to join her
husband, who took a
coaching position with
Mount San Jacinto
College two years ago.
Her last day at Orange
Glen will be Oct. 21.

In her new job as director
of secondary education
for the Moreno district,
Carberry will oversee
instructional programs for
students in sixth through
12th grades.

Carberry has been at
Orange Glen since 2001,
when she was named to the
post after principal Shirley
Rehkopf was demoted to a
teaching position. Rehkopf
unsuccessfully sued for
gender discrimination. In
April, Carberry was at the
center of controversy when
a jury found that a
basketball coach was
wrongfully fired from
Orange Glen and awarded
him $1.2 million in damages.

The coach, James
Carter, accused
Carberry of retaliation
for an incident involving
her husband. Carter, who
previously worked with
her husband at Monte
Vista High School, told
the school's athletic
director that Ed Carberry
had urged a player to
take a weight-gaining
substance. Carter
eventually quit Monte
Vista and was hired at
Orange Glen and
Carberry later became
principal at the school.

The Carberrys denied
any wrongdoing, and the
district is appealing the

Carberry joined the
Escondido Union High
School District in 1999.
Prior to Orange Glen,
Carberry served as an
assistant principal at
Escondido High School
and as director of
curriculum for the district.

Carberry, who previously
taught science, math and
physical education, came
to the Escondido district
after 10 years in the
Grossmont Union High
School District.

During her time at
Orange Glen, the school
has gone from an
underperforming campus
because of low test
scores to being honored
as a California
Distinguished School. "It's
been one of the most
memorable and exciting
experiences for me to
have been a part of that,"
Carberry said. "That's a
great high to end my time
at Orange Glen."

superintendent Ed Nelson
said a search for a new
principal for Orange Glen
will begin immediately.
The woman who
fired Coach Carter
now claims she's a
victim of employee
Dianna Carberry is so fond of
her husband that she fired a
coach who reported that her
husband had recommended
a substance to a student
who later developed kidney
failure.  That's one way to
get to the top, Dianna.  You
don't get ahead by playing
nice, right?  But why are you
now whining about being
Dianna Carberry is complaining about being
demoted by Jesus Gandara of
Union High School District.   

It's amazing that Dianna Carberry, whom jurors found responsible for 1.2
million for her actions against Coach James "Ted" Carter, is now the poster
girl for unhappy employees at SUHSD who claim the superintendent is too
high-handed with employees.  

Sweetwater's Miracle Worker Turned Lightning Rod
June 21, 2009

Jesus Gandara was described as a miracle worker when Sweetwater Union
High School District, the largest high school district in the state, hired him
as its leader nearly three years ago.

It was an apt image for Gandara, who introduced himself to schools as a
man of faith. School board members touted his record of upping test scores
in a tiny, impoverished school district on the border of Texas and Mexico.
And Sweetwater welcomed miracles after a turbulent year: It had cycled
through two interim chiefs before tapping Gandara.
Sweetwater Union High School District Superintendent Jesus Gandara.
Image Courtesy of NBC 7/39

But now, as he nears the end of his third year overseeing a district that
encompasses the middle and high schools from National City to San Ysidro,
Gandara is in the crosshairs of a campaign to unseat him. Four labor
unions from teachers to custodians have joined forces, gathering
signatures for a petition that argues that he "neither welcomes nor respects
input" and "relies on intimidation to gain consent." Union leaders estimate
that nearly 2,000 of their roughly 6,600 workers have signed the petition.

Their complaints are numerous, from Gandara's attitude to his actions. The
union has clashed with the school district over its contract, pushing for a
deal that keeps their salaries and benefits intact. Others criticize Gandara's
spending on meals and trips on the school district dime, which averaged
more than $1,200 a month this year. An editorial in a high school
newspaper called him "a Marie Antoinette figure, complete with financial
irresponsibility and social insensitivity." And unions are not the only ones
angry: Many principals and middle managers were stunned by his decision
to demote two of his highest ranking employees in March.

The school board has largely stayed out of the fray after a member highly
critical of Gandara, Jaime Mercado, lost his re-election bid last fall.

Gandara dismisses the furor as a union tactic as bargaining goes on with
the teachers union and the budget crisis barrels on. "The superintendent is
the lightning rod -- I understand that," he said. "I don't take it personally. I
have to do what I think is right for children."

Complaints about superintendents and their leadership styles are not
unusual, especially as the budget crisis pushes school districts to slash
jobs and programs. A milder petition criticizing "top-down administration"
was delivered to San Diego Unified by its teachers union last week; former
Sweetwater superintendent Ed Brand was previously dealt one. School
district leaders are hopeful that the recent election of a new teachers' union
president, Alex Anguiano, will cool the furor: Spokeswoman Lillian Leopold
said that Anguiano has a better relationship with Gandara, who said that
when the old President Sam Lucero was voted out, "he got his vote of no
confidence -- and his was louder than mine."

But several sources within the union said that the vote indicated a push for
"a wartime president" who will continue their fight, not call it off. Employees
charge that the uproar is not about proposed salary cuts or layoffs, which
have been canceled as Sweetwater found other ways to cut $11.6 million
from its $348 million budget, but about Gandara himself. And those worries
-- whether real, perceived or politicized -- have not abated.

One union leader remembered Gandara visiting her after she complained
to the school board about a computer system.

"He yelled at me. Just chewed me out. 'You're never to go to the board
again. Don't ever go to the board again and make this kind of complaint.
You have an issue, you bring it to me.' He was yelling and waving his finger
in front of my nose," said Julie Hitchcock, president of the Sweetwater
Counseling and Guidance Association. She added, "Now it's coming from
the directors. He bullies them, they bully us -- it all kind of trickles downhill."

Outsiders who have worked with Gandara in other capacities found the
criticism strange. Scott Himelstein, director of the Center for Education
Policy and Law at the University of San Diego, said that he had never found
Gandara to be combative. But a chorus of complaints focuses on
Gandara's attitude toward employees. They are not confined to unions:
Numerous employees in management positions declined to be quoted for
this story, saying they feared for their jobs. A retiree has become their

The demotions "were the tipping point," said Mary Anne Stro, who retired
as a principal eight years ago. "If they can do this to Karen and Dianna,
they can do anything to anybody."

Stro was referring to the demotions of Karen Janney and Dianna Carberry,
two assistant superintendents who lost their jobs after declining lesser
positions in the school district. Demoting Janney, in particular, has inspired
outrage from longtime employees who praised her as a competent and
caring leader, citing the lofty awards she received and local projects she
helped to complete. Sweetwater has since hired an outside consultant for
$50,000 over roughly three months to take on leadership in curriculum and
instruction and has chosen another consultant for $15,000 to help find
replacements for the two chiefs.

"She had the respect and trust of the community, and to have someone like
that have their legs cut out from underneath them -- it was a shock," said
Colleen Cooke-Salas, a teacher at Mar Vista Middle School.

Reasons for the demotions are unclear. While Sweetwater schools learned
they had much room to improve in a critical report from the County Office of
Education, the report was not shared with Gandara and other staff until
weeks after Janney and Carberry were demoted. Janney's department was
ranked highly in an internal survey last year of how managers felt about
Sweetwater departments and their timeliness, communication and quality;
Carberry was in the middle of the pack.

Board President Jim Cartmill said that decisions about the top personnel
must be left to Gandara.

"We can't keep a superintendent accountable for results unless he or she
is allowed to hire who they want," he said. "The reassurance I would give
the public is, if we don't see progress on a yearly basis, then we hold the
superintendent accountable."

Gandara had overseen or held high positions at several small Texas school
districts before Sweetwater came calling. Board members in Mercedes
Independent School District, the last system he oversaw, credit him with
helping to pass facilities bonds and getting poor families involved.

Business became his focus in Sweetwater, where he names the
dysfunctional computer system that Hitchcock complained about as one
challenge, along with dropping enrollment, budget woes and its $644 million
facilities bond. Though most of the bond projects are in their infancy,
Gandara prides himself on roughly $10 million in savings from three large
projects where bids came in below estimates.

But the bond also became a bone of contention. Changes to the bond
projects included in the list angered the San Diego County Taxpayers
Association, which complained that promises were being broken as the
school district canceled some of its plans. Gandara said that the original
bond plan included needless repairs. Lani Lutar, president of the group,
said Sweetwater staffers told her they were only barred from building
projects that were not included in the bond list. Gandara seemed not to
care "if his decisions contradicted commitments to voters," she said.

Rudy Gonzalez, who leads the committee charged with overseeing the
bond, called it a misunderstanding. Not all bond projects on the list had to
be done, he said. "They were examples."

Critics and supporters of Gandara alike say he has largely left the
educational side of schools, curriculum and instruction, to his subordinates.
He now says that was a mistake and he will get involved. A County Office of
Education study of Sweetwater schools that recently found that strategies
to help lagging students were inconsistent, though annual test scores show
improvement in Sweetwater over time.

"I was focused in other areas," Gandara said. "I was making assumptions
that what I was asking to be done was being done, that we had rigor in our
classrooms, that we were moving in the right direction. But when you have
an outside entity come in and they say, 'You're lacking rigor' -- that was a
wake up call for me."

Meanwhile, his critics are still issuing a call of their own.

"When you can get almost half of your employees saying, 'Get rid of this
guy' -- that's telling to me," Stro said.
Southwestern College website
Jaguar Football
Head Coach
Ed Carberry

Coach Carberry will begin his
31st season in coaching and
his second season as the
Head Coach for the JAGUARS.
Coach Carberry is no stranger
to San Diego County having
spent 14 years at Monte Vista
H.S. in Spring Valley. Over his
last 11 seasons at Monte
Vista, Ed's teams won 10
championships. 2 CIF
Championships, 8 League
Championships and a CIF
Finals appearance in 1999. He
has been named the San
Diego Union Tribune Coach of
the Year, National Football
Foundation Coach of the year,
San Diego East County Coach
of the Year twice and League
Coach of the Year 8 times. In
2003, Ed became only the
24th high school coach in
section history to record his
100th career victory on the
way the Division II CIF

Ed spent 3 seasons at Mt.
San Jacinto Community
College in Riverside County.
His three year record at Mt.
San Jacinto was 19-12. His
overall coaching record is 124
- 92 in four stops as a head
coach. St. Anthony High
School in Long Beach, Monte
Vista High School and Mt. San
Jacinto College. In 2005,
coach led MSJC to an 8-2
record and a berth in the U.S.
Bank Beach Bowl against
Saddleback College. The
2006 Eagles finished with a 7-
3 record.

Over the past 4 community
college seasons COLLEGE
AID offers have been made to
51 players on Carberry's
teams allowing them the
option to continue their
playing career. Offers have
come from all levels of football
from Division I, I AA, II, III and
NAIA schools.

HUDDLE Offense. All
receivers and running backs
are expected to carry the
offensive load as we spread
the ball around and attack all
areas of the field. Carberry's
offense led the Foothill
Conference in passing in
2006 and was second in Total
Offense. Coach's QB in 2005
was an Academic All American
as they passed for 2,700
yards. Our last 4 QB’s have
all received scholarships
including 2007 QB All Foothill
Conference Drew Westling
who moved on to SDSU.

can be defined by ATTACK,
aggressive multiple front and
coverage style that
emphasizes the individual
talent of the players on the
team. His defense led all
Southern California teams in
interceptions in 2004. His
2006 defense was ranked #1
in the state in Total Defense
at mid season and finished
with a ranking of #16.

dominated by speed on the
coverage team and
outstanding field position play.
In 2004 Carberry's team lead
the state in punt returns and
had a first team All American
Return man.

Ed has been married for 29
years to Dr. Dianna Carberry.
Dianna earned her doctoral
degree from Northern Arizona
University and is currently the
Assistant Superintendent for
the Sweetwater Union High
School District. Their
daughter Maegan earned her
undergraduate at U.C.L.A.
and then a Masters at the
Medill School of Journalism at
Northwestern University in
Does football culture
work well when used
by management in
See Coach James "Ted" Carter case
Support for Dianna Carberry

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of the Sweetwater community. So many people are getting
involved, at personal risk, in trying to turn the tide of fear and disrespect
that currently grips our district. I believe that goodness will prevail. We
have to keep going strong and advocating for what we believe in. There is
some evidence that the letters, phone calls, petitions, no confidence votes,
etc... are making a difference.

Distribute this blog to as many people as possible. We need to reach out
and let everyone know there is something they can do. We are not
powerless, there is definitely strength in numbers.

March 28, 2009 11:27 AM

Anonymous said...

The machinations of our superintendent are nothing less than a coup
attempt. With a mere two years in the district serving "our" students, he is
arrogantly and capriciously displacing persons (mostly WOMEN) who have
worked for decades to improve education and provide a path to success
for ALL the students in our district. This is done to promote his loyal
cronies and ensure that his plans will be approved. The fact that the
school board approved this plan 5-0 is frightening and makes me wonder
who is watching out for those of us who have endured through the years,
always giving our best for our students and colleagues. The decisions he
has made are morally, ethically, and educationally unsound, and will end
up costing our district dearly - in terms of lawsuits, lost personnel, and,
saddest of all, the lost energy of professionals who are forced to work in
this atmosphere of fear and confusion.

March 28, 2009 6:42 PM

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Dianna Carberry that fired coach James "Ted" in
Escondido for reporting that Dianna's husband told a student to take a
substance, and the student developed kidney failure?

July 2, 2009 5:49 PM

Anonymous said...

I meant to write James "Ted" Carter.

July 2, 2009 5:50 PM
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