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November 6, 2018 — California General Election

San Diego Unified School DistrictCandidate for Trustee, Trustee Area C

Photo of Michael G. McQuary

Michael G. McQuary

Retired Classroom Teacher
177,300 votes (46.2%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Expand equity and access to high quality instruction and a broad and challenging curriculum that prepares all students for college, career, and civic engagement.
  • Establish safe instructional environments and optimal learning climates across the district, which will increase student outcomes, expand visual and performing arts, career and job readiness, academic excellence, and civic and global competencies.
  • Continue the fiscal oversight that has placed the District on a solid financial footing for the first time in eight years by restructuring district services, hiring and supporting highly competent and professional employees, and engaging stakeholders



Profession:Doctor of Education-Retired Classroom Teacher
Director and Secretary, Pacific Beach Town Council — Elected position (2010–current)
Chairman of the Board, San Diego International Sister City Association — Elected position (2017–current)
School Board Member, San Diego Unified School District, District C — Elected position (2014–current)
President, Rotary Club of Mission Bay — Elected position (2012–2014)
Teacher and Principal, Scotts Valley Unified School District (1993–2000)
Principal, Lindsay Unified School District (1987–1993)
Program Director and Instructional Supervisor, Tulare County Department of Education (1979–1987)
Program Director, Exeter Union Elementary and High School Districts (1976–1979)
Teacher and Director of Projects, Cutler Orosi Unified School District (1970–1979)


University of Southern California (USC) Doctorate of Education (Ed D), Curriculum and Instruction (1992)
Fresno State University MA, School Administration (1983)
Fresno State University Certificate, School Administration Credential, School Administration (1983)
San Francisco State University Elementary and Secondary Teaching Credentials, Social Studies and Math (1970)
University of California-Berkeley BA, History and Political Science (1966)

Community Activities

Chairman of the Board, San Diego International Sister City Association (Coordinates San Diego City's 16 Sister Cities in 15 Countries) (2017–current)
Board Member, San Diego - Yokohama Sister City Society (San Diego's First Sister City, established 1957) (2015–current)
Charter Board Member, San Diego - Panama City Sister City Society (San Diego's most recent Sister City, established 2016) (2015–current)
Committee Member (International Service and Youth Service Committees), La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club (2016–current)
President (Two Terms), Rotary Club of Mission Bay (2011–2013)


Pre-Teaching Work Experience:  Railroad fireman; truck driver/freight loader; home construction; manufacturing firm production control officer for private/government contracts (off-shore drilling, San Francisco Kabuki Theatre’s rotating stage, San Francisco BART tunneling device, Titan Missile silo gates, Polaris Missile guidance system); casualty/life insurance representative


Education: Undergraduate, UC Berkeley; Elementary/Secondary Credentials, SF State; Masters-Administration, Fresno State; Doctorate-Curriculum and Instruction, USC


Teacher:  City schools (San Francisco); rural schools (Tulare County); suburban schools (Santa Cruz County); college (College of Sequoias, Fresno Pacific University); Middle School Math & Science Teacher; Middle School Athletic Coach; K-8 Math Resource Teacher;  Local Teacher Union President and Lead Negotiator


Administration:  School Principal, District/County Project Director, (Categorical Programs, GATE, Vocational Education, Court Schools), County Education Supervisor (Math, Science, Technology); California Department of Education Consultant (Distinguished and Effective School Validations, School Improvement Plan Reviews)


Community Service: President, Mission Bay Rotary Club; Member (Youth and International Service Committees), La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club; Director and Secretary, Pacific Beach Town Council (6 terms); Member, Pacific Beach Business Improvement District (Discover PB); Annual Donor, Beach and Bay Family YMCA; President, California Democratic Council (400 clubs); Small Business Owner (property management); Chairman of the Board, San Diego International Sister City Association (16 international sister city partnerships in 15 Countries). 


Family:  2 daughters with Master Degrees (UC-Santa Cruz, UC-Santa Barbara); son (West Point); and 5 grandchildren


Currently: Board Trustee/Past President, San Diego Unified School District

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • The San Diego Union - Tribune (UT) Editorial Board (Daily newspaper with circulation of 400,000)
  • San Diego CityBeat (Weekly Newspaper with circulation of 50,000)

Organizations (15)

  • San Diego Schools Police Officers' Assocation (POA)
  • San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council (125 affiliated unions and 250,000 working families)
  • San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention
  • San Diego Education Association (SDEA-More than 7,000 K-12 educators in 181 schools)
  • Clairemont Democratic Club
  • Pacific Beach Democratic Club
  • La Jolla Democratic Club
  • Martin Luther King Junior Democratic Club
  • Democrats for Environmental Action
  • San Diego Labor Democratic Club
  • Democratic Women’s Club of San Diego County
  • San Diego County Democratic Party-Metro West
  • San Diego County Democratic Party
  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest
  • San Diego Charter Advocates for Great Public Schools

Elected Officials (8)

  • Honorable Susan Davis, United State Congress, D-53
  • Honorable Scott Peters, United States Congress, D-52
  • Honorable Chris Ward, San Diego City Councilmember, D-3
  • Honorable Nathan Fletcher, former Assemblymember & candidate for SD County Supervisor, D-4
  • Honorable Todd Gloria, Assemblymember, San Diego D-78
  • Honorable Lorena Gonzalez, Assemblymember San Diego D-80
  • Honorable Barbara Bry, San Diego City Councilmember and President Emeritus, D-2
  • Honorable Toni Atkins, President Pro Temper of California Senate, D-39

Questions & Answers

Questions from KPBS and the League of Women Voters of San Diego (5)

Do you support Measure H to impose term limits on San Diego Unified School District board members? Why or why not?
Answer from Michael G. McQuary:

 I support Measure H because it was a compromise solution recommended by (1) an Election Review Committee made up of a broad-based group of community members and key stakeholders across the district, (2) the San Diego Unified School District, and (3) the San Diego City Council, who were responding to community concerns and a report issued by the San Diego County Grand Jury.  In general, however, I believe in the democratic process and feel that voters are the best determiners of who should serve and for how long. 

Currently, San Diego Unified School District board member candidates are nominated by trustee areas in June, and then face voters in the entire district in November. Do you think that SDUSD board members should only be elected by the voters within their own trustee area? Why or why not?
Answer from Michael G. McQuary:

This and other issues raised by the San Diego County Grand Jury and a number of concerned citizens need to be carefully examined after the 2020 census, when we know the demographic distribution of our population and can take a more comprehensive review of the impact a change would have on district governance and the educational program for student.  However, we currently have trustee-only-area elections for the primary.  The current election process ensures that each district has an opportunity to select the top two vote getters in their trustee area and then allows all voters across the district the opportunity to elect the best of the two candidates.  Trustee-area-only voting for the general election would disenfranchise parents of students, who have chosen to attend schools outside of the voting district where they live (approximately half of our students), and thereby, losing their political voice and preventing them from receiving constituent services in the area where their children are attending school.


Would you vote to approve new charter petitions that are found to be legally compliant and educationally sound? Why or why not?
Answer from Michael G. McQuary:

This is current law, which clearly establishes criteria for approving or disapproving new charter petitions.  As a member of the Board of the San Diego Unified School District, I continue to support existing law and ensure that all students have quality educational programs that meet their needs regardless of the school they choose to attend.  SDUSD has the second highest number of district authorized charter schools in California, and many of these are recognized as being the best schools in California and the United States.  The US News and World Report ranked 19 San Diego Unified School District high schools (10 district managed high schools and 9 charter managed high schools) among the best high schools (Top 13%) out of 20,500 high schools in the United States.


Should school board members weigh in on political issues, such as immigration and gun control? Why or why not?
Answer from Michael G. McQuary:

Because Politics Science is the study of decision making and school boards are engaged in the decision making process, school board members are by necessity involved in political issues. However, the school board is a non-partisan board that establishes public education policy (direction, structure, support, oversight, and advocacy) for all students and their families, who reside in their district attendance areas. When issues (immigration and gun control for example) directly impact the education or safety of school employees, students, their families, community partners, and the neighborhoods in which they live or attend school, then board members should weigh in to the degree that the issue is education related. Board members, when acting as a board member or on behalf of the board of education, should not weigh in on purely partisan issues or political issues that have no direct connection with education.


Should the district curb its school choice initiatives, separate from charter schools, so more students stay in their neighborhood schools? Why or why not?
Answer from Michael G. McQuary:

The district can do both, maintain the current school choice option and develop quality schools in every neighborhood. This is an important issue that will be examined during a January 29, 2019, SDUSD School Board Workshop that will include public participation.  Currently, the school choice system allows all students within the school district to choose to attend any school in the district so long as there are seats available. The obligation of the district is to develop high quality schools in every neighborhood so that students will be inclined to attend their neighborhood schools. However, a student should have the option to attend a school outside of their neighborhood, if they believe a different school or cluster of schools would more adequately match their educational needs and aspirations, such as selecting a school or cluster that has a particular career or academic pathway, such as VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts), STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics), medical or health sciences, IB or AP courses, a particular world language, etc.  

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

As a political science and history major at UC Berkeley with a major interest in 17th Century and contemporary political thought and with years of civic engagement and community activism, I have learned to value the importance of a well educated electorate, the need for a free press, the basic principles that are guaranteed by the US Constitution, and the civil rights and responsibilities that promote social, economic, and ecological justice. 

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