San Rafael City Schools is comprised of two distinct and separate public school districts: the San Rafael Elementary School District and the San Rafael High School District, which are designated as San Rafael City Schools under the Charter for the City of San Rafael. These two legal entities are governed by a single Board of Education, with administrative oversight and management by a single district administrative and support staff. This long-standing governance structure is a model of efficiency and effectiveness, maximizing the public's fiscal resources by combining the oversight, leadership, fiscal management and day-to-day operations into a single leadership team.
The Superintendent of Schools is the "Chief Executive Officer" of the organization, responsible for the administration and management of all district operations based upon the philosophy and direction of the five-member publicly elected Board of Education.
SRCS Welcomes Superintendent Diaz Ghysels
Superintendent Diaz Ghysels began her tenure as the Superintendent of SRCS at the start of the 2023-24 school year. In the Spring of 2023, the SRCS Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint Carmen Diaz Ghysels as the District’s next superintendent.
Ms. Diaz Ghysels' appointment followed an extensive search, which brought an excellent field of 19 highly-qualified candidates, including eight superintendents and five from out of state. The Board's decision was a reflection of input gathered from key stakeholder groups in the District regarding the qualities desired in SRCS' next leader.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve this great district,” said Ms. Diaz Ghysels. “It is inspiring how the community embraces its schools and students, and I’m thrilled and ready to partner with the dedicated and talented teachers, staff, families, partners and Board to take all our schools and programs to the next level for every student’s success.”
A longtime educator of 38 years with deep experience, Ms. Diaz Ghysels is known as an authentic and collaborative leader with a relentless belief that all students can learn and thrive. Prior to SRCS, she was the superintendent of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, where she led the district of approximately 4,200 students for the three years.
“We are thrilled to have Carmen as our next superintendent,” said SRCS Board President Gina Daly. “With her decades of experience in improving student achievement and prioritizing student well-being, we are confident she will lead our district with compassion and effectiveness. As a bilingual educator and the granddaughter of immigrants, Carmen brings a deep understanding of the diverse needs and challenges of our students. We are excited to work with her to ensure that all our students have the support and enrichment they need to flourish personally and academically.”
As a student-centered visionary, Ms. Diaz Ghysels is committed to closing the opportunity gap. She leads with a warm, inclusive approach with a focus on building strong community relationships and engaging teachers and students. She has earned a reputation for guiding well-performing teams and nurturing staff at all levels. Her leadership skills include highly-effective communication; courageous and transparent decision-making; and demonstrating ownership, accountability and enthusiasm in undertaking initiatives and challenges. Ms. Ghysels has a proven track record of success as an instructional leader, and in particular, has exceptional experience and skills in instructional technology. Above all, her love for serving students and her investment in their success is evident in all she does.
As part of the hiring process, Ms. Diaz Ghysels interviewed with a variety of SRCS stakeholders who served on a community advisory panel. They represented groups such as students, teachers, staff, parents and partners.
“The San Rafael Federation of Teachers is pleased to welcome our new Superintendent Carmen Ghysels,” said panelist Morgan Agnew, a high school teacher and SRFT president. “The Board has selected an experienced leader who knows the job of superintendent, has family ties to San Rafael, and who will be able to connect with all members of our school community. We look forward to building a collaborative, candid, and mutually respectful working relationship with our new Superintendent, much as we have had with Superintendent Jim Hogeboom, who we thank for his service and wish a happy retirement.”
Brianna Padilla, an elementary and middle school instructional coach and president of the San Rafael Teachers Association, was also a panelist and shared, "SRTA is excited to welcome Ms. Ghysels to the San Rafael community. SRTA educators look forward to collaborating with her in advocating for the highest quality educational experiences for our students, for purposeful and impactful professional development for our educators, and for a more equitable San Rafael community. ¡Bienvenidos a San Rafael, Carmen!”
CSEA president Tania Morales represented classified staff, and added, “CSEA is looking forward to working with and developing a collaborative relationship with incoming Superintendent Carmen Ghysels. We are hopeful that her experience in education, both personal and professional, will serve our students in an equitable and beneficial manner. CSEA Chapter 341 welcomes you to SRCS and looks forward to establishing a cohesive relationship.”
Prior to Tahoe Truckee Unified, Ms. Ghysels gained rich, in-depth experience in numerous positions in various diverse schools and districts. She’s served as a bilingual teacher, special education specialist, special day class teacher, instructional coach, principal, special education director, assistant superintendent of human resources, student services and health services, deputy superintendent and now, superintendent. She had long tenures at Mountain View Whisman and Sunnyvale school districts and honed her skills earlier in her career in several districts in the Southwestern United States. She began as a bilingual kindergarten teacher in Houston, Texas. Raised as an English learner, she is fluent in Spanish. Ms. Ghysels graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Special Education and she earned a Master's in Instructional and Educational Technology from San Jose State University.
About the Superintendent’s Office
The Superintendent's Office staff includes Assistant Morena Parada who supports both the Superintendent and the Board of Education. The District's Communication Director Christina Perrino is also located in the Superintendent's Office.
Members of our community can contact individual members of the Board of Education, and/or the entire Board through this office. The Superintendent's Office is open during the same regular business hours of the District Office.
The California Public Records Act recognizes that every person in the state has a fundamental and necessary right to access information concerning the conduct of the public's business (Government Code Section 6250). SRCS takes seriously its obligation to support the law’s intent and to respond in a cooperative and helpful way to public records requests.
How to Make a Request for Public Information
While SRCS encourages members of the public to put records requests in writing, it is not required. The form linked below may be used to document verbal requests for public records or to submit requests in writing.
Completed forms can be submitted electronically to the Office of the Superintendent at firstname.lastname@example.org or delivered to: San Rafael City Schools, Office of the Superintendent, 310 Nova Albion Way, San Rafael, CA 94903. If you have any questions, please contact 415-492-3233.
What is a “public record”?
A “public record” includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business that is prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency, regardless of physical form or characteristics. (Government Code Section 6252(d))
Complying with a public record request does not require compiling or building new writings from data, but rather to provide information that already exists. Electronic mail (e-mail), which is saved by the system, or printed out, is available for inspection.
What is a “writing”?
A “writing” is defined as handwriting, typewriting, printing, photocopying, photographing, and every other means of recording upon any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds, or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums and other documents. (Government Code Section 6252(e))
Who is a “member of the public”?
A “member of the public” means any person, except when a person acts as a member, agent, officer or employee of a federal, state or local agency acting within the scope of his or her membership, agency, office, or employment with these organizations. (Government Code Section 6252 (f))
What public records are available for inspection?
Government Code Sections 6253-6270 designate broad categories of records that are subject to public disclosure, as well as those records prohibited from public disclosure. Any public record that does not fall within a statutory exception to the PRA shall be subject to public disclosure.
Some relevant Exceptions: Government Code 6254
Preliminary drafts, personal or informal notes, or interagency or intra-agency memoranda that are not retained by the public agency in the ordinary course of business, provided that the public interest in withholding those records clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
Records NOT subject to PRA
The Board of Education recognizes that parents/guardians and community members may wish to organize parent organizations and/or booster clubs for the purpose of supporting district co-curricular and extracurricular programs (“school-connected organizations”), such as athletic teams, debate teams, musical groups, and other activities that provide a positive source of involvement for students consistent with the district’s vision for student learning.
Board Policy andAdministrative Regulation 1230 regarding School Connected Organizations were approved by the Board in January 2017 to guide the process for which a community group can request that the Board authorize them as a School-Connected Organization.
Form To Request Authorization As A School Connected Organization:
If an organization believes they qualify in accordance with board policy and administrative regulation guidelines, they may use the fillable form below (download to your local desktop for full functionality) to be considered. Requests for Authorization as a School-Connected Organization are to be submitted to the Superintendent's Office, Attn: Morena Parada; emailed to email@example.com or mailed to the Superintendent's Office, 310 Nova Albion Way, San Rafael, CA 94903, by the first of each month to be considered by the Board at a regular meeting.