RSF School District taps former Santa Fe Christian head of schools as superintendent finalist

The R. Roger Rowe School campus.
(Karen Billing)

Board will make vote on superintendent contract at June 9 meeting


The Rancho Santa Fe School District Governing Board has announced Dr. Tom Bennett as the finalist in its superintendent search. A longtime educator, Bennett had a nine-year tenure as the head of schools at the Santa Fe Christian Schools in Solana Beach.

The board has been searching since January for a replacement for Donna Tripi, who announced at the beginning of the year that she would be resigning when her contract expired in June.

The board is expected to approve Bennett’s employment contract at the regular board meeting on June 9.

“After a thorough and extensive search process we are pleased to announce that we have found a leader who meets our criteria to take our school to a higher level of recognition and reputation, and our students to achieve new standards of excellence,” said RSF School Board President Major General John Tree in a news release.

Bennett began his career in education as a mathematics teacher in the Grossmont Union High School District, where he taught for five years. After earning his Ph.D. in educational psychology, learning and instruction from UCLA he became a professor of education at California State University, San Marcos. He was at the university for 14 years, including serving as the vice president for academic affairs.

Per his application for the job, Bennett said his leadership style is rooted in “nurturing relationships, collaboration, and effective communication.”

While leading Santa Fe Christian Schools for nine years through 2017, Bennett oversaw all three schools being recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. According to the district’s press release, he is known for his support of high academic standards, fiscal responsibility and building a positive school environment.