LA QUINTA – From the minute Scott Bailey arrived to lead Desert Sands Unified School District, which serves 29,000 students, he was tagged as one to watch.

He was a reservoir of experience, new ideas, charisma, and energy.

Locally, all eyes were on him.

Now, he has been identified as one to watch among superintendents in the nation.

Each year the National School Public Relations Association recognizes up to 25 superintendents as “Superintendents to Watch.” Honorees are school district leaders who have fewer than five years of experience as a superintendent and who demonstrate dynamic, fast-paced leadership with strong communication at its core. They use communication technology in innovative and effective ways to engage and inform their school communities and to expand two-way communication and outreach efforts.

Superintendents to Watch nominees should have:

  • Fewer than five years of cumulative experience as a superintendent at the time of nomination;
  • Implemented a communication program for the district that includes the use of new communication technology as well as more standard communication tools;
  • Integrated communication goals and strategies into the district’s strategic plan; and
  • Active, visible involvement in the district’s communication effort (e.g., tweets, blogs, participates in face-to-face engagement activities, responsive to media requests, models good communication for staff).

Bailey fit the bill.

Superintendent since April 2017, Bailey is one to watch among the 2018-19 Superintendents to Watch. Fourteen 14 district leaders from across the nation were selected for their use of communication technology in innovative and effective ways.

Mary E. B. Perry, Public Information Officer for DSUSD, nominated Bailey for the recognition. David Vogel, CEO and Cofounder of DIGICOM Learning; Kelly May-Vollmar, Chief Innovation and Information Officer at DSUSD; Derrick Lawson, principal at Indio High School; and Sheila Thornton, president and CEO of One Future Coachella Valley; also wrote letters of recommendation.

one to watch

Mary E. B. Perry

“DSUSD is now truly a Twitter district as Superintendent Bailey’s lead-by-example method has us all tweeting the latest happenings at the district, every school, and most classrooms,” Perry wrote.

She also added, “Mr. Bailey has created a video message to all staff and uses student-created video in a unique production of episodes titled Not So Undercover Sup (www.dsusd.us/content/notso).”

In nominating him as one to watch, May-Vollmar wrote, “Superintendent Bailey is dedicated to consistent, transparent, and two way communications within the district. When writing the superintendent’s action plan, Mr. Bailey surveyed parents, students, staff, and community members to determine new opportunities and directions for the district, what was working well, and input on how the schools/district is run and what programs should be offered. Never before has so much input been requested from such a large pool of participants. The information gathered was shared with the public and used to write the action plan.”

one to watchHis very first days on the job found him completely immersed in the work of the district. He visited every single one of the 34 schools and over 800 classrooms in less than two months, according to the application. He interfaced with every member of the staff from those in the classrooms to those in the lunchroom. He listened and he took action.

As school master schedules were improved and consolidated, the websites where they could be found began to be restructured. School site webmasters took part in training sessions conducted by members of the superintendent’s office with assistance from IT. The schools created new websites. They were diligent in their making their websites ADA accessible, and they shared new forms of communications with their families. Some great examples of DSUSD websites are:

  • Indio High School — click here to see it.
  • Thomas Jefferson Middle School — click here to see it.
  • Dr. Reynaldo J. Carreon Jr. Academy — click here to see it.

For these reasons and so many more, you can see why Bailey was marked as one to watch.

You may read the complete nomination by clicking here.

Selected superintendents for the one to watch recognition will receive an award and an individual profile highlight in an NSPRA e-newsletter. They also will be invited to attend the 2019 NSPRA Seminar in Washington, D.C. at a discounted price.

Image Sources

  • 450x550_mary-perry: DSUSD
  • Scott Bailey and Students: Desert Sands Unified School District
  • Scott Bailey: Desert Sands Unified School District