David Jaffe to start as Rancho Santa Fe School District superintendent Aug. 1

The Rancho Santa Fe School District officially welcomed David Jaffe as its new superintendent July 14. His first official day will be Aug. 1.

Jaffe comes to the RSF School District from Torrey Pines High School, where he was principal for the past three years. In his 20 years of education experience, Jaffe has served as an assistant principal at Diegueno Middle School and La Costa Canyon High, the founding principal at Canyon Crest Academy, and San Dieguito Union High School District’s executive director of curriculum and instruction.

After Jaffe was announced as a finalist June 13, RSF School District Board of Trustees President Tyler Seltzer said the response has been “overwhelmingly positive” and he is very happy with where they wound up after a nationwide superintendent search conducted by Leadership and Associates.

“It was really heartening to see how thorough the process was and a delight to get to know you, David,” new trustee Scott Kahn said. “It made me smile to think that, as a board, you all put so much energy into it…and that’s how you came to having a candidate that is just going to be spectacular.”

At the meeting, the board approved a five-month agreement with departing Superintendent Lindy Delaney to act as a special advisor to Jaffe.

Kahn said from his experience in the corporate world, it is standard practice to make sure outgoing leadership positions can share knowledge with and mentor the people coming to replace them.

‘It’s a gift when you have an outgoing person who is willing to do that,” Kahn said.

Kahn said he wanted to make it clear that Jaffe was the new superintendent, but the board wants to make sure they set him up to be absolutely successful by providing the resource and mentorship of Delaney.

Delaney was emotional in what would be her last time leading the school board meeting. She fought through tears to make a statement at the conclusion of the meeting, thanking school boards past and present for allowing her to serve.

“It’s been such a highlight of my life, it’s been such a big part of my life. I’ve loved it,” Delaney said.

Delaney was first hired as a teacher in 1986 by Dr. R. Roger Rowe and spent 30 years as a teacher, coach and administrator.

At the meeting, she thanked the district’s legal counsel Richard Currier and John Stiker, a RSF School District board member at the time, for talking her into being superintendent in 2004 because she didn’t know if she could do the job.

Delaney made her statement in the spacious Performing Arts Center (PAC), where a seat in the front row of the theater seats bears a plaque with her name. The PAC is part of one of Delaney’s biggest accomplishments during her tenure —overseeing the complete financing, development, construction and modernization of the new R. Roger Rowe campus.

Delaney credited the RSF Education Foundation, one of the most successful of its kind in the country, for all of the things they provide that make the school a nice place to be —”whether supporting robotics or planning the Halloween carnival” - some of her most cherished memories.

“It is that common goal of doing things together on behalf of the kids,” she said of the district’s partnership with the foundation and all of the volunteers that truly care.

Delaney acknowledged how making the school run smoothly was a real “community effort, thanking the RSF Association and “especially” RSF Patrol Chief Matt Wellhouser and his officers for making sure they are safe, and RSF Foundation Executive Director Christy Wilson and the RSF Foundation.

Delaney thanked the staff for working “tirelessly” to provide great education, the great families and the fun students.

“Richard (Currier) and Kendal (Swanson)… no words,”said Delaney choking up mentioning the district’s two legal counsels. “You have been there to protect the district and to protect me.”

Last, but definitely not least, she thanked her assistant Sandi Nissel, whom she said was absolutely “irreplaceable.”

“David, enjoy. I hope you have a great a run, as I did,” Delaney said to Jaffe. “I’m going to be there to support you any way I can. I know the board approved five months, but you have me forever if you need anything.”