Jim Cartmill served as President of the Sweetwater Union High School District Board of Trustees in 2013 and 2014. The Sweetwater Union High School District is the largest secondary high school district in the nation – serving 65,000 7th-12th grade students and adult learners with a annual budget of more than $300 million and a workforce of nearly 5,000 full and part-time employees. The Sweetwater District serves the communities of Bonita, Chula Vista, Eastlake, Imperial Beach, National City, Otay Mesa, San Ysidro and South San Diego.
He is also the CEO/Owner of Let’s Talk Health, a successful nutritional supplement company based in Chula Vista, and Jim Cartmill was named Small Business Owner of the Year by the California Small Business Association in 2008 – nominated by Assembly Member Shirley Horton.
His community involvement includes being a life-long South Bay resident, attending school at Cook Elementary, Hilltop Junior High, Bonita Vista High, Southwestern College and San Diego State University. He has served as a Planning Commissioner for the city of Chula Vista, as well as the County Drug Abuse Advisory Committee, Chula Vista Rotary, Olympic Training Center, Eastlake Church Elder, Optimist Club, BonitaFest, Youth Coalition Representative, and honored as an Outstanding Young Man of America by the Jaycees.
He and his wife Cindy Ledesma Cartmill are Sweetwater District graduates and have a daughter, Blythe Marie who attends a Sweetwater District High School and a son, Jason who served three tours of duty in Iraq, Kurwait and Kosovo as an Army Field Medic.
Prior to his election, Jim Cartmill coached the Bonita Vista girls’ tennis team—a group that included all-American and nationally ranked players—to an undefeated 87-0 league record. He also served the nationally acclaimed Bonita Vista High Music Machine as their team-building trainer and was the motivation coach for the 1997 National Overall Water Ski Champion, Rhoni Barton.
Jim directed the Campus Life Youth Program for 20 years overseeing a juvenile hall diversion program, a teen pregnancy development home, urban youth clubs and middle school and high school youth development clubs. The Campus Life Club he led at Bonita Vista High School was recognized in 1991 as one of the largest youth development clubs in the nation. He also served on the National Campus Life Task Force for his expertise on youth culture.
As a nationally recognized authority of youth issues, his professional speaking career includes workshops and keynote presentations to over 1 million people at local, state, national and international conferences and events including Dubai, China, The Netherlands, Mexico and throughout the United States. His expertise includes: Reaching Generation Next: Insight Into Youth Culture and Generational Trends and Developing an Extreme Makeover for Balanced Living – Mission-Driven Life Planning™
He addresses thousands of students, parents and educators nationally and internationally every year including the National School Boards Association, California School Boards Association, American Association of School Administrators, California School Leadership Association and numerous board, administration, student, certificated and classified presentations.
Jim has had the privilege of sharing the speaking platform with former National League Baseball pitcher Dave Dravecky, 3-time Olympic gold medal winner Gail Devers and internationally recognized speaker and author, Dr. Denis Waitley.
Jim is also published in a book entitled “Conversations on Success” with Stephen Covey, Dr. Denis Waitley, and Marjorie Blanchard.
During his tenure on the Sweetwater School Board, Jim’s leadership and commitment to youth have produced the following accomplishments:
- Compact for Success – Established and founded under Jim’s leadership, the Compact for Success is the first program in the nation to guarantee admission and tuition to college for students who meet the requirements. This has led to nearly doubling the number of Sweetwater graduates admitted to San Diego State University. This past year the Compact was given an Innovation Award by the College Board and honored by the National Journal as the Innovative K-12 Program of the Year.
- Distinguished Schools and Golden Bells– The Sweetwater District has 24 California Distinguished Schools in the past two decades – more than any high school district in the state and 25 Golden Bells recognizing educational excellence.
- Fine Arts, Athletics and Alternative Education – Jim Cartmill has been instrumental in expanding fine arts, athletics and alternative education opportunities to meet the needs of all students and increase student engagement.
- Student Health and Well-Being – Jim led the effort to implement physical education standards to fight childhood obesity.
- Education Summit – Annual community event that attracts over 1,000 people to collaboratively discuss and develop goals and priorities for the school district.
- School Leadership Teams – Implemented School Leadership teams in each school site to maximize student achievement.
- Safe Schools – Jim Cartmill developed partnership with Chula Vista Police to provide sworn police officers at Eastlake High, Olympian High, Otay Ranch High, Rancho Del Rey Middle and Eastlake Middle to increase student and staff safety.
- Teaching Standards – First district in the state of California to have performance indicators and benchmarks written into a union-ratified teacher contract.
- Community Service Initiative – Successfully passed a community service graduation requirement for students – one of the first in the nation to be implemented.
- International Partnerships – Developed educational partnerships with China, Europe and Mexico.
- Fiscal Stewardship – Has balanced over $2 Billion in budgets during his tenure on the school board.
As President of the Sweetwater District for the past two years, Jim led the district in the following areas:
- He personally spearheaded the most comprehensive campaign finance reform in the 90+ years history of the Sweetwater District by enlisting the help of community members who originally went the District Attorney with concerns.
- In his role as President, he also personally stepped in to help successfully negotiate 3-year agreements with all 7 of the district’s bargaining units when negotiations were stalled.
In Addition, the district has continued to maximize student achievement under Jim’s leadership for the past two years resulting in:
- All twelve of Sweetwater’s comprehensive high schools were named Silver Medal winners in 2013 by the U.S. News & World Report, placing them among the top nine percent of schools in the nation in the annual ranking of schools.
- In 2014, Seven District schools named in the US News and World Report as medal winners, six with silver medals (top 12% of Schools in the nation), and one with a gold medal (top 3% of Schools in the nation)
- In the 2013-2014 school year, every 7th and 8th grade student in the Sweetwater District was assigned an iPad tablet computer as their primary learning tool allowing students to take tests, do homework and communicate with their teachers.
- Implemented a district-wide communication system for teachers and parents to monitor student academic progress and assignments via the Internet.
- A higher graduation rate than the state and county averages.
- Three District schools named California Distinguished Schools in 2013.
- Granger Junior High was named a Gold Medalist and among the best urban middle schools in the nation receiving the Excellence in Urban Education Award. National City Middle won this award in 2012 by the National Center for Urban School Transformation.
- 11 District schools exceeded the 800-point target on the API scores.
- Eight District graduates received Gates Millennium Scholarships in 2013.
- San Ysidro High School was named one of 10 “Breakthrough Schools” in the nation by the National Association of Secondary School Principals for their academic achievements.
- Sweetwater schools dominated the San Diego County Academic Decathlon competition, sweeping first through fourth places.
- Numerous Robotics championships.
- National and statewide visual and performing arts awards.
Jim’s vision for the future in moving the district forward includes working with the community and legislators to secure a university in the South County, expanding Computer Technology, Career Technical Education, completing the vital work of Proposition O to renovate and build new classrooms.