North County School News, Aug. 22


Academy welcomes new president

Mark Desjardins has been named the next president of the Army and Navy Academy. He was selected after a seven-month executive search to head the academy, an 111-year-old college preparatory military boarding school for middle and high school boys. He will succeed retired Army Maj. Gen. Arthur Bartell who has been the academy’s president since 2014 and who announced his retirement plans last summer. For the past 11 years, Desjardins has been head of school for St. John’s School in Houston. During his 33-year education career, he has also been head of school for three independent schools in Oklahoma and Texas, including the Texas Military Institute. Desjardins is a graduate of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and later earned a Master of Education (M.Ed) degree in Secondary School Administration and his doctorate in History of American Education, both from the University of Virginia. In 2008, he was a Klingenstein Visiting Fellow at Columbia University’s Teachers College where he researched and wrote about best practices in education leadership for independent schools. Visit


Credit union awards three teachers grants

North Island Credit Union recently awarded grants of $500 each to three North County teachers as part of its Spring 2021 Teacher Grant program, helping educators by funding innovative learning opportunities. The credit union provided 10 grants to support classroom projects across San Diego County. In North County, recipients were Steven Aldridge, a teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Oceanside, who will create a Circuit Playground program to teach coding, programming and computing to students in grades 7-8; Maura Leonard of Diegueño Middle School in Encinitas, who will create a cultural history project through video creation and film editing for her grade 7-8 students; and John Oly Norris, of San Dieguito High School Academy in Encinitas, whose grant will buy materials for his socio-political history of rock and roll curriculum for high school students.

Local students graduate

Stanislaus State University, Turlock, Calif.: Evelyn Suarez of Oceanside, Bachelor of Arts in psychology, magna cum laude; Alexandria Lewis of Oceanside, Bachelor of Science in biological sciences.

DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.: Carl Ash of Encinitas, Bachelor of Arts in neuroscience, summa cum laude.


MiraCosta offers incentive for vaccine

MiraCosta College is using up to $3 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding to encourage unvaccinated students to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Any MiraCosta College student who is registered for a fall 2021 course, receives the COVID-19 vaccination, and submits verification through their SURF student account, is eligible to receive a $300 credit to use in the MiraCosta College Bookstore (on the 1 Barnard Drive Campus or online). Students can come into the store on the Oceanside campus, or they can order online and can opt for shipping or pickup. For more on MiraCosta’s return to campus, how to be vaccinated, and MiraCosta’s COVID-19 response, visit


Palomar College receives Prebys grant

The Conrad Prebys Foundation has awarded the Palomar College Foundation a grant of $102,431, to purchase a full-body Trauma F/X simulation figure to be used by Palomar College’s Nursing and Emergency Medical Education programs. The simulator will allow students to experience lifelike treatment scenarios and learn critical medical interventions under pressure. They are designed for anatomical fidelity, accurate weight and feel, and response to treatment during simulations. “Our students benefit greatly from these collaborative engagements, and this grant will provide even more immersive training, benefiting our first-responder programs for years to come,” said Palomar College Superintendent/President Star Rivera-Lacey in a statement. The grant is the largest in the Prebys Foundation’s history, according to Executive Director Stacy Rungaitis. Prebys, who died in 2016, was a San Diego real estate developer and philanthropist.

Apply by Monday for affordable computers

Computers 2 Kids, San Diego – C2SDK will be at San Marcos Elementary School from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday to distribute affordable desktop computers and laptops to qualifying families. Families must apply by Monday to qualify. Apply at, or call (858) 200-9788.

Please send items to [email protected] at least two weeks before events take place.