Desert Sands Unified School District team includes 29 assistant principals.

National Assistant Principals Week will be held next week, April 5-9. But Desert Sands Unified School District will be on spring break at that time. So we decided to celebrate our assistant principals a week early. Today is the last day of our week-long celebration. “The role of the assistant principal is absolutely critical to our school communities.  We are so thankful for all the hard work and dedication of the amazing DSUSD assistant principals,” Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Kelly May-Vollmar, Ed.D., said.

Each year there are national celebration weeks for our teachers, principals, counselors, bus drivers, nutrition services workers, librarians, nurses, and many more. DSUSD recognizes each group as those special times come along. But, even more importantly, we celebrate our entire staff, each individual, every single day. In a rebranding of the district almost two years ago, we created a list of nine values that we hold as crucial to the success of not only our students but our staff. They are: Relationships, Respect, Innovation, Inclusion, Teamwork, Kindness, Equity, Excellence, and Service.

As we celebrated our assistant principals this week we focused on the work that they do to keep these values alive. According to, the definition of an assistant principal is “an education administrator responsible for facilitating the day-to-day requirements of their school. They need to ensure the safety of students as well as fulfillment of federal and state student and teacher performance guidelines.” The website goes on to describe specific duties of an assistant principal—and the list is long. The National Association of Secondary School Principals in support of this recognition to our assistant principals has noted that, “This year, our celebration takes on even greater significance as we recognize all that assistant principals have conquered amid the pandemic and consider what their ever-expanding and evolving role might look like moving forward.

Through it all, America’s assistant principals have demonstrated unwavering leadership—becoming a source of strength and inspiration for us all.” DSUSD Superintendent Scott L. Bailey commented, “We are very thankful for the leadership of our assistant principals. They have truly gone the distance amid a pandemic to support students, staff, and community.”

Desert Sands Unified School District team includes 29 assistant principals. There are four at the elementary school level and eight at the middle school level. At the high school level there are 17 who share the duties overseeing counseling, discipline, curriculum and schedule, facilities, activities, and so much more. An article on lists the top reason for becoming an assistant principal to be “a desire to help students succeed”. It goes on to note that “While many people see the assistant principals as the disciplinary arm of the administrative staff, their main goal should be to help students achieve their greatest potential”. In my many years as a school administrator, I agree with’s list of characteristics necessary in an assistant principal: strong organization skills, attention to details, trustworthiness, diplomacy, effective communication skills, familiarity with technology, and the desire to be involved in every aspect of the school. DSUSD APs share on-campus duties and can be found at athletic events, concerts, plays, spelling bees, science fairs, and every activity you can think of.

In this challenging year, members of the community continue to recognize DSUSD team members  through the district’s employee recognition program by clicking here.


Photo caption above:

In a pre-COVID moment, Author Derrick Lawson shares time with his administrative team. From left to right, Lawson, Marcy Herrera, Richard Pimentel, Monica Rodriguez, and Aimee Druyon.

Image Sources

  • Indio High School Administrative Team: DSUSD