Christian Unified Schools of San Diego
The Christian Unified School District (CUSSD) was founded in 1965 by Dr. Tim & Beverly LaHaye and members of Scott Memorial Baptist Church to make available to the people of San Diego and the surrounding areas an educational program that would provide for the total education of a child–spiritually, morally, mentally, socially, and physically. The school was founded with the concept of creating a Christian school district with multiple campuses, with each school teaching academic subjects from a distinctly Biblical worldview.
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the foundations of CUSSD were born out of the ministry of what was then known as Scott Memorial Baptist Church–now Shadow Mountain Community Church. After Dr. LaHaye’s 25–year service as the church’s senior pastor, he was succeeded in 1981 by Dr. David Jeremiah, who has built on the outstanding traditions and ministry that had already been established there.
Today, Christian Unified Schools are spread over three campuses: the main campus, Greenfield, home to 700+ students in elementary (187), junior high (134) and high school (386), Christian Elementary West, a K–6th campus with 157 students, and the Bonita campus in Chula Vista, with 234 K–8th students. A fourth campus is being planned to open in 2016 known as the Faith campus or Spring Valley campus. The 2015-16 budget is about $12.5 million and there are nearly 100 full-time and 15 part-time employees. The school has a significant reputation and footprint in the community as a whole, as only about a third of the students are from Shadow Mountain Community Church.
The mission statement of Christian Unified Schools of San Diego is…
Recognizing the preeminence of Christ and partnering with parents, Christian Unified Schools of San Diego teaches students to think, learn and live from a Biblical worldview by integrating God and His Word as the primary source of knowledge and Truth.
The vision of CUSSD is to see students acquire deep and personal knowledge of Christ and His Word, achieve the highest levels of Christian scholarship and learning, and accomplish the eternal purposes for which God created them.
Opportunity & Challenge
The School Board, administrators and teachers at Christian Unified Schools are challenged by the moral decline of the culture and the spiritual malaise these conditions have brought. They contend with the ongoing financial needs needed to provide a high-quality education with a Biblical worldview in an area that would not be considered “high income.”
That being said, they have a long and successful history and are grounded philosophically and spiritually as part of a great evangelical church. They benefit greatly from the leadership and passion of their pastor, board, administration and teachers. They have great name recognition in the community, solid facilities and excellent financial leadership. They are blessed with dedicated faculty members who pour both truth and “their very lives” into their students.
Christian Unified is a warm, embracing place…described by many as a “great place to work.” They desire to continue to provide a high-quality, affordable education and are not looking to become an elite school. The school is on the rebound after reaching a low point of 735 students (with a historical high of 1,315). There are also the ongoing challenges that come with sharing parts of their facilities with their host churches.
CUSSD is a church–run, not a parent–run, school. There is a strong overall “CEO” who is ultimately leading both the church and the school. Dr. Jeremiah cares deeply about all aspects of the ministry and is benevolent, gracious, generous and incredibly supportive toward the school. He views the school, the church and Turning Point, the nonprofit radio and television ministry he also leads, as “one ministry” built around Shadow Mountain Community Church. Maintaining a strong trust relationship here is paramount.
The current Superintendent, Dr. George Cuff, is retiring at the end of the 2015–16 school year. Dr. Cuff has done an excellent job in uniting the teachers, administration and church leaders and has laid a strong foundation on which his successor can build. He describes his role in this way:
The role of the superintendent is both visionary and administrative. He leads all administrative aspects of the school: evaluating, guiding, and directing the administrative personnel. He sets the tone for the school culture, the spiritual environment and the work environment. He works with the board to set and direct the budget. With the Director of Development, he determines fundraising initiatives. He must inspire the staff and the constituency. He maintains the confidence of the senior pastor of SMCC and the board of directors. He represents the school in the community, speaks at various school functions and inspires donors and supporters.
The Superintendent is the de facto CEO and “face” of the school, operating with relative autonomy in running its day-to-day operations and representing it in the community. The School Board is very healthy and, while needing to stay informed, normally only gets involved in large financial and policy decisions and in approving the general curriculum. While being extremely passionate and supportive, it is virtually “invisible” to those outside the boardroom.
The next Superintendent is currently serving in a senior leadership role at a larger Christian school, likely the #2 at a very large school or the principal of a growing and successful high school. They will need to bring undeniable expertise in education and have a pastoral heart, possess a working knowledge of fundraising, marketing and communications, be a strong leader and administrator, and have a high view of the Church. Rather than implementing a brand new vision or major directional change, he must be able to build on the current vision and direction and take advantage of opportunities.
Words that best describe the next Superintendent are humble, charismatic, consensus–builder, servant leader, strong business mind, committed, team builder/unifier, big picture person, integrity, high self–esteem/small ego, possessing the ability to get along with others, and having a deep caring for the value of and quality of Christian education.
Position Title: Superintendent
Reports to: Board of Directors and, in addition, is assigned to participate as a member of Dr. David Jeremiah’s senior staff.
The Superintendent is the chief administrative officer of the schools and is charged by the School Board with the total responsibility for the operation of the schools. He is responsible directly to the School Board and shall operate the schools according to the By-Laws, policies and philosophies formulated by the School Board.
The Superintendent shall be a person with proven personal, academic, moral, spiritual and leadership qualities to direct the total ministry of the schools. He shall also be a person who can work with Dr. David Jeremiah and the pastors of Shadow Mountain Community Church in order to maintain a harmonious, spirit-filled marriage between the two organizations. He must have an understanding and commitment to Christian Unified Schools of San Diego’s Philosophy Statements. He must be a spiritually mature and growing Christian who is active and in his Christian life. He is to be an active member of Shadow Mountain Community Church.
M.A., or equivalent experience, with a minimum of five years teaching experience and five years administrative experience, or an acceptable combination of teaching and administration.
In addition to the following areas of responsibility, the Superintendent shall carry out such other duties as assigned him by the School Board.
1. Coordination of the Total Program. The Superintendent shall administer the development and maintenance of a distinctly Christian education program stressing a Biblical worldview and designed to meet constituency needs by formulating school objectives, day-to-day policies, plans and programs. He shall supervise the District calendar, plan and administer faculty and staff orientation with the help of the administrative staff, chair the Administrative Planning Committee, and meet regularly with the Principals, Curriculum Director, Business Manager and Board Chairman.
2. Relationship to School Board. The Superintendent shall attend all the meetings of the School Board, helping the Chairman plan the agenda for such meetings. Specifically, his responsibilities include:
- Maintain liaison with the administration,
- Interpret the school’s operations to the Board,
- Inform school personnel regarding the Board’s actions and thinking,
- Implement the Board’s policies,
- Recommend curriculum and courses of study, and
- Submit a report at every regularly scheduled School Board meeting on the status of the schools and any current opportunities and challenges.
3. Service on Senior Church Staff. The Superintendent serves on the senior staff of Dr. David Jeremiah and Shadow Mountain Community Church and, as such, will attend weekly lunch meeting with other senior staff members, attend worship services and participate in them from time to time, as needed.
4. Supervision of Personnel. The superintendent has direct responsibility to supervise the Principals, Business Manager, Director of Development, Curriculum Director, Elementary Curriculum Coordinator, Athletic Director and his Personal Assistant.
5. Procurement of Personnel. The Superintendent is responsible for all hiring and firing decisions.
6. Budget Formulation and Control. He shall prepare an annual budget for the consideration of the School Board. He shall work with the Business Manager, Finance Committee and administrators in preparing the budget. The superintendent shall supervise the budget to see that the District is solvent and report progress monthly to the School Board. Upon commencement of an audit procedure, he shall arrange for an annual audit of the records by a qualified accountant who shall make an annual report of the audit to the School Board.
7. Finances. He shall be a member of the Finance Committee and work closely with them in securing the needed funds for operation and development. He shall work with the Business Manager in collection of accounts.
8. Long Range Planning and Development. The Superintendent shall submit plans annually for developmental programs in curriculum, staff, buildings and equipment and publications as part of a long-range plan for the total development of the school. He shall initiate new programs as needed and as approved by the School Board.
9. Maintenance. He shall, with the Business Manager, approve the maintenance program.
10. Admissions. He shall work with the Principals in selection of students, according to the admissions policy.
11. Public Relations. The Superintendent shall work closely with the Development and Public Relations Directors in planning and carrying out an effective program of interpreting the school to the public. He shall be a member of any public relations committee and give direction to the program.
12. Publications. The Superintendent shall supervise the Publications Department in conjunction with the Development and Public Relations Directors.
13. Commencement. The superintendent shall work with the Principals in planning the details of commencement, including baccalaureate service, and shall participate in the graduation ceremony.
- Salary: Competitive. Total compensation negotiable based on experience and education.
- Benefits: Group medical coverage (employee only), 403(b) retirement plan, part of salary as pastoral housing allowance (subject to IRS guidelines), Student Tuition exemption for children.
- Vacation: 30 days
- Relocation Expenses: Paid by CUSSD
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