By Karen Billing
The San Dieguito Union High School District recently announced the selection of Karl Mueller as the new principal of Canyon Crest Academy, and Ryan Yee as principal of Oak Crest Middle School, beginning July 1.
Mueller is currently serving as principal of Coronado High School and Coronado School of the Arts, a position he has held for the past seven years. Other positions Mueller has held include assistant principal of Coronado High School and Director of Audeo Charter School in San Diego.
“I feel really lucky that we had someone like Karl express an interest, with the experience we need for a successful program at Canyon Crest,” said incoming district superintendent Rick Schmitt. “The work done by principals Brian Kohn and David Jaffe over the last years drew really top candidates to that school. It’s the highest performing comprehensive high school in San Diego County and there’s a culture there that is pretty amazing.”
Schmitt said a large committee of key stakeholders composed of teachers, parents and district administrators interviewed seven candidates for the position. Once whittled down, remaining candidates interviewed with Schmitt and outgoing superintendent Ken Noah.
A public meeting was held to generate recommendations for what the CCA community was looking for in a new principal. Schmitt said parents were looking for someone with a background and understanding of performing arts, a support of the overall culture of CCA, someone who is approachable, humble and a seasoned principal who connects with teenagers and understands the balance of academics, arts and athletics.
“I think if there was any message or theme from the parents it was ‘We love CCA, don’t change it,’” Schmitt said.
With Mueller, Schmitt said he feels like they have found a perfect match with all the desired characteristics.
“If there were any two schools that could be brothers and sisters in this county it would be Coronado High School and CCA,” Schmitt said.
He said there is a close connection between the two schools — one of the two people most responsible for designing, building and ultimately rolling out what CCA would be nine years ago was departing principal Kohn, who has his roots at Coronado. At Coronado, Kohn helped design and build the award-winning Arts Conservatory program that has been used at CCA.
Almost a decade later, Schmitt said the current principal of Coronado High, Mueller, will be coming to CCA with a full understanding of that balance between outstanding academics, arts and athletics.
Yee is currently assistant principal at San Dieguito Academy, where he has worked since 2010. Yee was hired by the San Dieguito UHSD in July, 2005, to fill the position of middle school assistant principal at Carmel Valley Middle School, a position he held for four years. He was assistant principal at Earl Warren Middle School for one year prior to his transfer to San Dieguito Academy.