Ilsa Garza-Gonzalez, an educator for 20 years, is Jurupa Unified's Director of Administrative Services. Ms. Garza-Gonazalez has served JUSD as a teacher, principal, and, since 2013, a leading administrator. She recently was named the 2017 Region XIX Pupil Personnel Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators.
Learn more about Ms. Garza-Gonzalez's approach to school leadership here, in her own words:
On a vision for student learning:
My vision of learning is, perhaps, unconventional: I focus on instilling in all students the social skills required for success – not just in school, but in life. If children's basic needs go unmet, or if they can't work with others, control their emotions, or withstand hardship, they are unlikely to dig deep into their potential. I help students develop in these areas, connect families with supportive resources, and teach adults the basic neuroscience of young brains. Students caught in trauma or chaos, or those who have not established procedural memory and problem-solving at home, slip into survival mode, which stalls academic progress. As educators, we must assist these kids in building life skills, confidence and resiliency.
On school culture:
Because school culture is so crucial to student success, we routinely test, assess and nurture that culture, which can shift with influences and perceptions. We shape a school climate that models and communicates expectations, supports strong relationships, encourages open dialogue and difficult conversations, listens to all opinions, ensures accountability, and recognizes kids for what they do right. We track data on suspensions, attendance, school engagement, what courses are offered, test scores, parents' use of programs, which programs are accessible and to whom, rigor and expectations, and systems of support for reaching expectations. At the same time, we walk the halls and talk with students to gather qualitative data on culture and what we can do to strengthen and sustain it.
On ethics and leadership:
Leading by example is a huge part of teaching. I always say, "Don't do as I say, do as I do." If the rule is that students don't use cell phones during a certain time, then I don't use them then, either. Living by the same rules you set for students and staff builds credibility, as does nourishing relationships and helping others. I also model the change I want to see, from pursuing professional development to continuously innovating to crunching the data before creating new processes or programs. It is crucial to model emotional strength, as well, showing respectful empathy and compassion as needed – such as when students face adversity – while remaining even-keeled whenever circumstances take a tough turn. At all times, educators must do what's right for students.
Jose Campos, Jurupa Unified's Director of Parent Involvement and Community Outreach, has served JUSD since 2005. He has been an educator for 20 years and previously worked as a teacher and principal. In the past few months, Mr. Campos and his department have received several honors, including a statewide Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association.
Most recently, Mr. Campos was named the 2017 Riverside County Certified Administrator of the Year by the Riverside County Office of Education.
Learn a little more about Mr. Campos' achievements here – in his own (and a few others') words:
Our work directly mitigates the effects of poverty on academic achievement. Toward this end, we help offset out-of-school factors that, according to studies, widen scholastic achievement gaps. These elements include access to: health and dental care; social and mental health services; knowledge of parenting and child development; help in reducing economic stress; and more. We work closely with a range of other agencies, using a team approach to comprehensively support students, families and the broader community.
Overall, our programs – supported by a team of 4.5 employees – have an estimated 32,852 annual daily contacts with Jurupa Valley families, and our team is responsible for service contracts, partnerships, grants, and programs that total more than $1.5 million in services annually.
Our fundamental goal is to help all students reach their full potential. … As we chase that goal, it is gratifying to hear from stakeholders that our work is making a difference.
According to Joan Lauritzen, principal at Mission Bell Elementary:
"I was just thinking this morning about the wonderful service you have provided with the counseling for our children. I have noticed HUGE improvements in those students receiving counseling. They are now smiling, participating and acting like regular kids. Thank you for getting that up and going."
In the words of a few teachers in our district:
"We are so grateful to have these services available. Your office has filled a gap that has existed for us for a long time."
"Thank you very much for
providing us with these resources. You are a Godsend. I truly hope others appreciate everything you are doing.
I know we do."
Daphne desperately needs dental attention. She's had dental problems since last year when she was in second grade. I am so happy and relieved she is finally getting the help she needs.
You're the best, Norma
And an example of feedback from parents (translated from Spanish):
"I have benefited much, I was depressed constantly thinking negatively about myself and coming here has helped me feel happy and to live my life more positively. I know much now, thanks to you and the teachers, I have learned. From my heart, thank you."