Del Mar district’s Assistant Superintendent Cathy Birks retires


The Del Mar Union School District’s January board meeting marked the last one for Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Cathy Birks, who is retiring after 22 years serving the district’s children, staff and community.

Cathy Birks

“She has been someone in our district who has contributed to every large milestone, every great accomplishment, every small smile and heartfelt step along the way, in ways that most people outside of our district would never know,” said Superintendent Holly McClurg.

McClurg said that in her time with the district, Birks was an advocate for children and always put teaching and learning and what students needed first. DMUSD President Erica Halpern said she always had confidence in Birks’ numbers and complimented her calmness under pressure.

“I have been very fortunate to work with a board that is smart, kind and respectful. The board’s goals have been clear: fiscally prudent and focused on providing our students with an excellent educational program,” Birks said. “And my goal? To have a budget that was not intimidating and was clear and easy to understand.”

Birks said she was proud of her accomplishments with the administrative cabinet such as the development of a forward-thinking strategic plan, re-imagining what a classroom experience should look like and passing the district’s first general obligation bond to improve all district facilities. She was proud that the district was one of the only school districts in the county and state to offer full-time in-person learning as well as online education throughout the pandemic.

She said she looked forward to the opening of the new Pacific Sky School this fall and to one day having students return to a new Del Mar Heights.

“I am so proud to be a part of all we have accomplished and to know the Del Mar Union School District will continue to do great things for all of its students,” Birks said.

At the Jan. 26 meeting, the board unanimously approved the appointment of Chris Delehanty as the new assistant superintendent of business services. The former executive director of capital programs and technology will earn an annual salary of $185,000.

Delehanty has been in the district since 2006 in multiple roles, starting as a student teacher. He served as an assistant principal at three DMUSD schools before being named principal of Ashley Falls School in 2012. He became the district’s executive director of technology in 2015.

Delehanty said he appreciated Birks’ mentorship and showing what a chief business officer can truly do, “not just with numbers but impacting kids.”

The leadership changes leave a vacancy in the district’s maintenance, operation and facilities department. Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Ryan Stanley said they are analyzing the needs of the department and will be making a decision regarding the executive director position in the near future.

There is an additional vacancy for the director of maintenance, operations and facilities, who resigned in December. Stanley said the district will be interviewing to fill that position.