By Janene Scully, Noozhawk North County Editor

An educator with deep roots in Santa Barbara County has been named the new principal for Cabrillo High School.

Mark Swanitz has been hired to lead the Vandenberg Village campus in the Lompoc Unified School District.

The Board of Education approved the hiring of Swanitz during a meeting Tuesday night, one of several personnel-related actions.

Effective July 1, Swanitz will replace Isidro Carrasco, who has served as principal for the past two years and abruptly left. Several LUSD leaders have dodged questions about the departure of Carrasco, who appeared to delete his Twitter account identifying him as the CHS principal.

With Swanitz’s appointment, both comprehensive high schools in the Lompoc district will have new principals for the 2020-21 school year.

Lompoc High Principal Paul Bommersbach has accepted a job in the Educational Services Department at the district office. Celeste Pico, assistant principal at LHS, was named principal for the campus.

The Lompoc board also extended the contract extension for Superintendent Trevor McDonald, according to a statement released after the meeting. However, the statement did not spell out the length of the extension, and district officials did not respond to questions seeking that information.

Swanitz most recently spent 10 years as principal at Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, the campus he graduated from in 1985.

In February, the Santa Ynez Valley Board of Education unanimously voted against renewing the contract for Swanitz without providing any reasons. The decision also called for him to be given a certificated assignment within the scope of his credentials at the start of the 2020-21 school year, according to the board statement.

Before coming to Santa Ynez as an administrator, Swanitz was the principal at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta from 2006 to 2010.

Swanitz, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cal Poly, previously worked for schools in Fair Oaks, Elk Grove, Atascadero and Coalinga.

Two years ago, supporters of Swanitz spoke out after his arrest on misdemeanor drunken driving charges related to a crash on Highway 246 in which the other driver was deemed at fault. The criminal complaint listed his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash as 0.12. 

A few months later, Swanitz, through his defense attorney, Billy Redell, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving with a blood-alcohol level more than 0.08 percent. A second charge was dismissed, as commonly happens in cases involving first-time offenders.

His sentence included informal probation but no jail time.

The high school district board also imposed a number of steps for Swanitz as punishment in addition to action through the court system.

Tuesday’s LUSD meeting also included a reorganization of the Education Services Department. Brian Jaramillo was promoted to executive director and will oversee special education, pupil support services and information technology. 

In addition, Bree Valla was named deputy superintendent and will oversee human resources and curriculum and instruction.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at