About Cindy Sytsma
I moved to Rancho Penasquitos when I was 4-years-old and attended Poway Unified schools from kindergarten through graduation. The outstanding education I received paved the way for me to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, a Master’s in Education, and a PhD in Human Services Criminal Justice. My dissertation focused on No Child Left Behind.
My husband, a former Marine, and I moved to Poway 18 years ago knowing that when it was time to have a family, we wanted them to attend the best schools in the county. This Fall, my daughter will start 8th grade, and my son will enter 4th grade. This means I have a personal stake in this district for another nine years.
I began my professional journey as a Correctional Deputy for the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. I then started teaching in both general and special education classrooms within San Diego Unified. During my time in K-12, I held numerous positions including special day class teacher for students with mild, moderate, and severe disabilities. I was a resource teacher, designed a learning center for struggling readers, and developed a special education department for a new alternative high school. After earning my doctorate, I slowly transitioned to the university level.
For the past 16 years, I have been a Professor at National University. My diverse credentials have allowed me to teach courses in different subject areas including credentialing and field supervision for up-and-coming teachers. I wrote a Master’s program entitled “Juvenile Justice” with an emphasis in Special Education. For the past seven years, I have been teaching courses in criminal justice. I am an expert at navigating and teaching in an online environment which has proven extraordinarily helpful over the last many months. I have presented at educational conferences all over the world and have several publications. My research interests range from graduation rates, to supports for teachers, to youth leadership.
The unique design of National University has allowed me great flexibility. Over the past eight years, I have served as Garden Road Elementary School’s (GRES) PTA Secretary, PTA Membership Coordinator, Fun Run Chair, Running Club Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, and Room Parent. I have held each of these positions for at least two years. Additionally, I helped rewrite the PTA bylaws and supported nearly every event held at the elementary school as well as some events at Twin Peaks Middle School. I was recently elected to the new PTA board as Vice President. I frequently work as a substitute teacher in the Autism classrooms at GRES. The significant amount of time that I have spent on the GRES campus has allowed me to experience firsthand the disrepair of some of our buildings, the limited availability of resources, and the challenges that staff face. On the flip side, I have had the privilege of seeing how amazing things can happen when the community and parents come together to bridge those gaps.
My dedication to kids extends well beyond the school day. I have been the Girl Scout leader for my daughter’s troop for the past six years. Some of my proudest moments have been with these almost 8th graders: leading them to plan and execute a trip to San Francisco for the National Bridging Ceremony, guiding them to earn their Bronze Award, planning and executing the Cookie Rally back-to-back years for nearly 100 girls, and co-presenting with my girls, on two occasions, at a professional conference aimed at preparing girls to become leaders. The list of their amazing accomplishments is endless and watching them overcome fears, challenge themselves, and embrace the leader within truly fills me with pride. It is a joy to play a role in their journeys.
I have a successful track record of dedication, passion, working cohesively with a team, transparency, and follow-through. These characteristics will continue to be at the forefront of my efforts as a School Board Representative.
We are in an unprecedented time, not knowing what the school day will look like for our children come the fall. I know that my work with students of all abilities and all ages puts me in a position to advocate for every child. I know the struggles teachers face. I understand the need for volunteers and financial giving. And even in the face of this great adversity, I refuse to let any of our children get less than the outstanding education that brought my husband and me to this great district 18 years ago. My wealth of experience has me perfectly positioned for this role, and I hope you will support me this November so that I may rise to the challenge of representing our children at the district level.
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