Updated at 8:50 p.m. July 26, 2012
Michael D. Lewis, a Grossmont Union High School District official for 17 years, has been named the new executive director of Helix Charter High School.
The La Mesa school’s charter board anounced Wednesday night that Lewis, who succeeds Rani Goyal, will start Aug. 1—a week before the first day of school at the University Avenue campus.
“Having served at Helix previously, first as a student-teacher/wrestling coach and later as an assistant principal, I am keenly aware of the great legacy of Helix, both academically and in co-curricular programs,” Lewis told U-T San Diego on Thursday.
“I look forward to again being a part of Helix Charter High School as we continue to strive for excellence in and for our students.”
Brian Kick, president of the Helix Charter board, said in a statement: “Dr. Lewis was chosen from a highly qualified pool of candidates. The selection committee was comprised of a wide variety of representatives from the Helix community.
“We are confident that Dr. Lewis' knowledge and leadership will be a strong addition to the Helix administrative team, and we know that he will work to ensure that the school remains one of the top high schools in the region.”
According to web postings, Helix required candidates to have a master’s degree
and at least 5-7 years experience. Annual salary range was advertised as $113,000 to $139,000.
The school said Lewis is a 1981 graduate of San Diego State University, earning a master’s degree there in 1983.
He received his doctorate in educational leadership in 1999 from United States International University and has 28 years of education experience in education, both as a teacher and an administrator.
“For the past 17 years, he has served as an administrator in the Grossmont Union High School District at the school and district levels, including four years as an Assistant Principal at Helix (1995-1999),” said school spokeswoman Jennifer Osborn.
In October 2011, Lewis was succeeded as assistant superintendent for educational services by Grossmont High School Principal Theresa Kemper, and a district spokeswoman said Lewis “sought a different role in GUHSD and is currently bringing his leadership skills to our [Regional Occupational Program and Career Technical Eduction] program.”
Lewis was a member of the district’s Boundary Committee, which drew parent ire over changes in neighborhood school assignments.
In 2011, as chairman of the CIF San Diego Section Board of Managers, Lewis helped hire section commissioner Jerry Schniepp—a former Helix baseball coach.
Lewis is the sixth top administrator in Helix’s 60-year history, and the third since converting to a charter school in 1997, the school said.
Helix, which serves about 2,500 students from all over San Diego County, has had three executive directors—basically chief principal—since 2010, when Doug Smith resigned as part of a deal to preserve charter status for Helix in the wake of a series of faculty-student sex incidents.
under still mysterious circumstances days before the 2012 graduation after less than two years on the job.