Graduation isn’t just for the students at Desert Sands Unified School District. It is also for the teachers, administrators, facilitators, and academic coaches who provide both education and example to the young people they work with. It has been 15 months since Desert Sands Unified School District announced the Desert Sands Leadership Academy (DSLA) for School Leaders.

At the recent graduation ceremony, we were proud to showcase what 15 months of productive struggle, thoughtful conversations, and a deep dive into the content produced: 26 teachers, facilitators, academic coaches, site and district administrators who are well equipped to apply their learning to move their schools forward to increase student success.

On Oct. 4 the Desert Sands Leadership Academy participants were recognized at a graduation ceremony. California State Coordinator of the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL), Janice Case, along with Desert Sands Unified School District Superintendent Scott Bailey, presented the 26 school leaders with certificates of completion. The ceremony recognized the hard work that each participant put in, above and beyond their work days to deepen their understanding of how to intentionally impactful and sustain educational change to improve student achievement.

Desert Sands Leadership Academy

Francisco Uribe, Project Facilitator, Indio Middle School

Francisco Uribe, a teacher at Indio Middle School, stated that the learning caused him to shift his approach to teaching. His students became more engaged and showed growth in their learning. His action-learning project, in collaboration with his principal, included research into and creation of an alternative to suspension space on their campus. Kirsten Knapp, in her testimonial, shared how her learning helped shape her first year as principal at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in La Quinta. Knapp’s work with her leadership team is much more intentional and laser-focused on priority goals which they can leverage more quickly to increase student achievement.

Desert Sands Leadership Academy

Philip Solis, Assistant Principal, Desert Ridge Academy

Desert Sands Leadership Academy for School Leaders partnered with the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL) and their Executive Development Program (EDP). The EDP is a result of more than 25 years of research into school systems around the world that consistently outperform the United States in student achievement, equity, and efficiency. Many participants’ own theories of learning were challenged and reframed based on research and case studies. Participants may apply completion of this project toward a future doctorate in education through course waivers.

Desert Sands Leadership AcademyOne statement participants heard again and again is that “our system is designed to get the results we are getting.” Another way of saying that what we are doing is giving us our results. Desert Sands Leadership Academy participants know how to intentionally change what they are doing to change, for the better, their results.

The second cohort Desert Sands Leadership Academy is in progress of being selected. Over 75 people attended the information session 52 applied for Cohort 2,  and 25 will be chosen, similar statistics to the first cohort.  Additional information on the international program can be found by clicking here.

Congratulations to:

1.     Mary Alexander, Activities Director, Shadow Hills High School

2.     Tara Alford, Senior Director of Special Education

3.     Larry Bellanich, Director of Child Welfare and Attendance

4.     Laurie Buompensiero, Teacher, La Quinta High School

5.     Rebecca Cook, Ed.D., Director of Leadership Development

6.     Jason Fosselman, Instructional Coach, John F. Kennedy Elementary School

7.     Courtney Fox, Project Facilitator, Professional Development

8.     Trina Gonzales-Alesi, President, Desert Sands Teacher Association

9.     Andrea Guaydacan, Assistant Principal, John Glenn Middle School

10.  Elizabeth Delcampo Hartman, Principal, Indio Middle School

11.  Marcy Herrera, Assistant Principal, Indio High School

12.  Charlene Keat, School Psychologist

13.  Kari Kenney, Project Facilitator, Educational Services

14.  Mike Kint, Director of Professional Development & Teacher Support

15.  Kirsten Knapp, Principal, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School

16.  Elaine Lethcoe, Project Facilitator, State and Federal Programs

17.  Tiffany Norton, Principal, Dr. Reynaldo J. Carreon Jr. Academy

18.  Pattie Rice, Principal, John F. Kennedy Elementary School

19.  Richard Romero, Instructional Coach, Ronald Reagan Elementary School

20.  Michael Schneider, Assistant Principal, La Quinta High School

21.  Philip Solis, Assistant Principal, Desert Ridge Academy

22.  Francisco Uribe, Project Facilitator, Indio Middle School

23.  Elizabeth VanDorn, International Baccalaureate Coordinator, La Quinta High School

24.  Meredith Wheeler, Instructional Coach, La Quinta High School

25.  Michael Wilhite, Senior Director Elementary Education

26.  Kristen Wood, Assistant Principal, Shadow Hills High School

 

Image Sources

  • Desert Sands Leadership Academy: DSUSD
  • Desert Sands Leadership Academy Graduates: DSUSD