Alpine resident Cynthia “Cindy” Wagner was appointed as superintendent of The O’Farrell Charter Schools, a community-based institution in Southeastern San Diego that includes The O’Farrell Charter School and Ingenuity Charter School on Sept. 17. With 20 years of experience in education in the county, Wagner recently served a deputy superintendent for the South Bay Union School District. During her career she also worked in the Rancho Santa Fe School District and the Del Mar Union School District.
In a press release, The O’Farrell Charter Schools Board President Christian Scott said Wagner has proven herself to be a student-centered visionary leader dedicated to building a culture of collaboration and trust to ensure the most equitable outcomes for all students.
“With her at the helm, we know the future is bright for our students,” stated Scott.
Wagner said The O’Farrell Charter Schools make up a group of charter schools. It has an elementary school with a middle school, a high school, and the Ingenuity Charter School, which is a non-classroom based charter.
“Located in Southeastern San Diego, O’Farrell has always been a community based school,” she said. “This school, 100% supports the community surrounding us. That is really our primary mission is to serve this community and the students of this community.”
Wagner said the institution has a strong focus on a college-going culture ensuring all students are prepared for a four year university or any other higher education they may choose. O’Farrell is also a national Advancement Via Individual Determination demonstration school, so the use of AVID strategies in its classrooms is something that it focuses on. AVID is an in-school academic support program for grades seven through 12.
The purpose of the program is to prepare students for college eligibility and success. AVID places academically average students in advanced classes; levels the playing field for minority, rural, low-income, and other students without a college-going tradition in their families; and targets students in the academic middle—B, C, and even D students— who have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard.
Wagner said it has two more accolades that are important. O’Farrell was named as one of America’s best urban schools by the National Center for Urban School Transformation, and its high school has been ranked as a top performing high school for the past four years in a row by U.S. News & World Report.
“What is important about that is there are many people out there that might say that our students could not achieve at these levels, but we proved them wrong. Our children can and do achieve at very high levels. We are extremely proud of them,” said Wagner.
Wagner said it is an “honor and privilege” to lead an organization firmly committed to ensuring elevated expectations, building strong relationships, and providing a safe learning environment.
“We are all excited to begin what promises to be a phenomenal year of in-person learning, and our team has worked diligently to make sure all health and safety protocols are implemented in a way that keeps everyone on our campuses safe,” she said.”
Wagner holds a master’s degree in elementary education from Arizona State University, and a bachelor’s in early childhood education from Valdosta State University. She also obtained a credential in educational leadership and administrative services from California State University San Marcos.