SDUHSD announces 2018-19 principal changes

Cara Dolnik
Cara Dolnik Courtesy

Carmel Valley Middle School (CVMS) Principal Cara Dolnik will move to Diegueño Middle School beginning next school year, following the announcement that current Diegueño Principal Jeff Copeland and Assistant Principal Guen Butler have both chosen to return to teaching.

San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) Superintendent Eric Dill stated, “As we worked with Mr. Copeland and Ms. Butler on their transition, our top priority was ensuring stability and strong leadership by appointing an experienced principal to the school with a history of success in our school district.”

Dill announced to parents and staff recently that Dolnik accepted the opportunity to lead Diegueño Middle School beginning next school year. When Dolnik came to the district in 2010 as an assistant principal at Torrey Pines High School, she was already an experienced and well-regarded administrator in the county. After three years, she was promoted to principal at CVMS, where she has served for the last four years.

Dolnik, who began her career 20 years ago as a math teacher, is married to a science teacher in another district who graduated from La Costa Canyon High School. She is also currently serving on the district’s Special Education Task Force, which is working to develop a strategic plan to strengthen SDUHSD services for students with disabilities.

Dolnik said in her first e-mail to Diegueño parents, “I am excited to be Principal of another great school in SDUHSD where my enthusiasm and dedication as an educational leader will be useful in making the Cougar community the best it can be.”

Dill said Dolnik’s reputation for building positive relationships with students, parents and staff and focus on academic success will be a perfect fit for Diegueño Middle School.

While she will not officially begin until next school year, Dolnik will begin working with Copeland immediately to ensure a smooth transition for the students, staff, and families of Diegueño Middle School.

“I want to recognize and thank Mr. Copeland and Ms. Butler for their service to Diegueño students,” Dill continued. “All administrators are teachers at heart, so when they choose to head back into the classroom to work directly with kids, we understand and wholeheartedly support that decision.”

The district will begin the process to recruit and hire a new principal for Carmel Valley Middle School and an assistant principal for Diegueño Middle School immediately with opportunities for the teachers, parents, students and staff to provide input during the selection process to find administrators who match the unique culture and values of the schools.

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