Skip to main content

Personnel Commission

2024 Meeting Schedule & Agendas

The following dates are proposed for the Personnel Commission Meeting Schedule.  

Personnel Commission Meetings are held at:
6225 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92009

Meetings begin at 4:30 pm and all meetings are open to the public.

Personnel Commission Meetings 2024 - Schedule

Scheduled meeting dates do not prohibit the Commission from rescheduling future Personnel Commission Meetings at a later date, within the scope of adhering to Brown Act requirements.

PC Agenda May

Personnel Commissioners

A Personnel Commissioner must be a registered voter, a resident within the District's boundaries, and a known adherent to the merit system principles. The term of each Commissioner lasts for a period of three years and their terms are staggered so that one term expires each year.

Carmen Rene (Appointed by the Governing Board)

Commissioner Carmen Rene serves the CUSD Personnel Commission as the board-appointed commissioner. She is a CPA with over 20 years in public and corporate accounting and finance roles. She is currently the VP of Finance at Prescient Medicine in Carlsbad. Commissioner Rene prides herself on being a servant leader with a focus on team success and individual development.

In her personal life, Commissioner Rene has a strong affinity for community.  She has lived in Denver, LA, Boston, Yuma, and Carlsbad.  In each location, she has been active in social, service, and philanthropic activities.  It’s in her DNA to engage with her neighbors, elected officials, and community leaders.  Most recently, she served as volunteer Co-Chair for Measure HH which passed and secured $265 million in funding for Carlsbad schools. Carmen is a political and news “junkie” and has 4 dogs and a tortoise at home; the whole group can be referred to by the acronym “CE-SPAM”. 

Suzanne O’Connell

Suzanne O’Connell has spent over 40 years serving K-12 schools in every capacity from Instructional Aide to Teacher, to Principal, to Director, to Deputy Superintendent.  Suzanne brings a wealth of experience to the table surrounding curriculum and instruction, staffing, master facility planning, negotiations, fiscal management, progress monitoring, and accountability audits. With a career spanning four states (Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Jersey, and California), Suzanne has overseen a variety of key functions including teaching and learning; special education; staff development; budgets, bonds, and finance; and construction management. Suzanne is a skilled capacity builder and team leader. Her strong interpersonal skills enable her to navigate diverse settings as a successful collaborator with educators, classified staff, parents, city, state, and county officials, business leaders, and outside interest groups.

Mrs. O’Connell’s entire 22-year tenure in California has been in merit school districts operating under the direction of a Personnel Commission. As a result, Suzanne brings a thorough understanding of the guiding principles and chief components necessary to administer the merit system program.


Jennifer Fornal

With over 30 years of experience, Jennifer Fornal has dedicated her career to working with community organizations and K-12 public schools in California, focusing on providing out-of-school time resources to underserved communities. Starting in Los Angeles with the Heart of Los Angeles Youth (HOLA), she later contributed to city and statewide after-school initiatives with the Community Network for Youth Development and Temescal Associates in the Bay Area.

After becoming an independent consultant, Jennifer returned to Carlsbad, where she has resided with her husband and two daughters for the past 18 years. While occasionally consulting with non-profit organizations, she dedicates the majority of her time to volunteering in support of Carlsbad schools.

Currently, Jennifer holds positions as the Vice Chair of the Carlsbad Educational Foundation and a Board Member of Carlsbad High School’s PTSA. Her previous leadership roles include serving as the PTO President at Pacific Rim Elementary and the School Site Council President at Aviara Oaks Middle School.

For fun, Jen likes to hike local trails and tries to play pickleball as much as she can. She loves to cook for her family, friends, and neighbors and is always up for trying a new restaurant.


Mission Statement

"Consistent with merit system principles, the Carlsbad Unified School District Personnel Commission is committed to the oversight of a fair and equitable personnel system that employs the most qualified individuals to support the district's present and future educational programs."


To show pride in maintaining a highly qualified workforce consisting of talented and diligent staff who take initiative and employ teamwork to support our world-class school district.


About the Merit System

Employment in Carlsbad Unified School District's classified service is based upon merit system principles as defined by California Education Code Part 25, Chapter 5, Article 6, Sections 45240-45320, federal law, and the rules and regulations of the Personnel Commission. The Carlsbad Unified School District is an equal-opportunity employer.


CA Education Code and the Merit System

The Personnel Commission is established and governed by the provisions of the California Education Code, Title 2, Part 25, Article 6, Sections 45240 through 45330.

The Personnel Commission has responsibilities "as they pertain to the classified service regarding applications, examinations, eligibility, appointments, promotions, demotions, transfers, dismissals, resignations, layoffs, reemployment, vacations, leaves of absence, compensation within a classification, job analyses and specifications, service ratings, public advertisement of examinations, rejection of unfit applicants without competition, and any other matters necessary to carry out the provisions and purposes of this article (E.C. 45261)."

"The Personnel Commission shall prescribe, amend, and interpret subject to this article (E.C. 45260) such rules as may be necessary to ensure the efficiency of the service and the selection and retention of employees upon a basis of merit and fitness."


Basic Principles of the Merit System 

  • Recruitment from all segments of society and advancement on the basis of relative ability, knowledge and skill under fair and open competition
  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Efficient and effective use of the workforce
  • Retention and promotion on the basis of merit, as measured by the adequacy of employee performance and professional achievement
  • Correction of the performance of those whose work is inadequate and separation of those who cannot or will not meet required standards
  • Protection of employees from arbitrary action, personal favoritism, or political coercion
  • Protection of employees against reprisal for lawful disclosures of information
  • Fair and equitable treatment in all personnel management matters without regard to politics or protected status and with proper regard for individual privacy and constitutional rights
  • High standards of integrity and conduct and concern for the public interest


Personnel Commission Responsibilities:

  • Establishing and maintaining classification plans 
  • Recruiting for and testing job candidates
  • Managing eligibility lists, transfer lists, and reinstatement lists
  • Tracking seniority, bumping, and reemployment lists
  • Hearing examination appeals 
  • Establishing and maintaining Personnel Commission Rules
  • Recruiting Talented Staff
  • Maintaining Classification Structure
  • Hearing appeals to disciplinary action 

Provided below is a delineation of the separation of duties between the Personnel Commission and the Board of Trustees and their designees that often impact classified employees.

The Commission

  • Establishes classifications and classifies jobs based on assigned duties
  • Creates job families
  • Sets minimum qualifications
  • Recruits for and tests candidates
  • Certifies ranks of eligibility lists to hiring authorities
  • Serves as an appeal body for employees disciplined by the Board organizations

The Board

  • Determines District job tasks and functions
  • Establishes departments and reporting relationships
  • Determines the number of people needed in each classification
  • Sets work schedules and assigned hours
  • Makes final hiring decisions
  • Supervises and disciplines employees
  • Negotiates with labor

Personnel Commission Rules