Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Superintendents Carranza and Cabrera: Advocating for Students Across America

Juan (left), Richard (right)
My colleagues and friends have been having an incredible week in Washington DC. From spending time with President Obama discussing important educational issues, including the reauthorization of ESEA, Richard Carranza from SFUSD and Juan Cabrera from EPISD contributed to this important dialogue on how best to situate our institution so that it can effectively prepare our students for "college and career, and quality choices in the global environment."

But in addition to being captured engaging with POTUS, Arnie Duncan, and others, Richard and Juan met with other politicians and organizations, representing the hopes and aspirations of thousands of communities, including those of Latino/a students and parents.  And given the relatively small number of Latino leaders in education, they also carried the stories of thousands of teachers and administrators.  It's as though we were right there with them.  I am excited that they had this incredible opportunity, and look forward to hearing how the President and Secretary of Education reacted to the input offered by my colleagues and others.

Both Richard and Juan serve as Superintendents in two large urban districts, and are graduates of the ALAS Leadership Academy.  I, as well as their 13 fellow cohort mate, are very proud of them.  One a personal note, Richard is also my Superintendent in San Francisco, so I'm extra proud of him.  Way to go, jefe!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 Ireland and her people   
Land of pristine lakes, Verdant valleys and pastoral country side.
Sea swept coastlines, cliffs that climb up and skyward from the ocean waves.
Sun that warms both heart and summer air, casting long
Shadows upon the mist that lingers in the sweet meadow.
Music that delights the ear, while settings one’s heart a-flutter.

“Danny Boy” not just a song, but a nations "anthem"
Brilliant minds, scholars, poets, playwright, authors and men
of letters. Great universities and halls of higher learning.

Great statesman and parliamentarians.
St. Patrick her holy patron.
The harsh famines that gave way to the tidal wave of immigration that
never diminished the Irish spirit and gift of laughter of her great

People who contributed resource and talent to their newly adopted home-lands.

© joseph p.martino

Saturday, March 7, 2015

California: At the Crossroads Between API and Something Much Better

In California, we are at a crossroads.  We are at a place of making critical decisions in our public education system that will impact the lives of our students for decades to come.  At the intersection is the idea that the transition away from the Academic Performance Index (API) is the opportunity to create a more comprehensive, holistic, and relevant set of criteria for determining how our students and are progressing.  "There is near-universal agreement among educators and policy makers that a new system should be distinctly different from the API..."

If we do move in a new and better direction of accountability, it really needs to reflect the efforts that many in California have been not only discussing, but applying.  You have to look no further than the work being carried out by a small group of California school districts who have come together as the the CORE Waiver Districts.   There are a number of lessons that can be learned from their efforts.  More importantly, creating a more unified approach to support and evaluation is critical for the state of California to pursue, in an effort to engage all stakeholders, prioritize funding, and create a common purpose.

Read more:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Developing Educational Leaders: National Mentoring Month

It has been a number of years since I first became involved in the development of Formal Mentoring Programs. My doctoral dissertation from UCLA, “Lending a Helping Hand: Mentoring Latina and Latino Leaders Into the 21st Century” was recognized by the UCLA Doctoral Program as one of the outstanding program dissertations. However, now serving as the Director of the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership at Fresno State and chairing a number of doctoral student dissertations, I recognize that my dissertation was recognized more for its practicality than its academic content.
Nevertheless, the research experience of meeting with and interviewing Latina and Latino superintendents and assistant superintendents from throughout the State of California became life and career changing. Up to that point in my educational career it was my intention to become a school district superintendent. No doubt my educational and social activism would have made my superintendent career short but interesting.

My point in writing this short piece is that the need to develop educational leaders, especially educational leaders of color, still exists. Over the last few years I have had the privilege of developing a mentoring program for my own nonprofit, the Center for Leadership, Equity and Research (CLEAR), while consulting with Fresno State toward the development of a Staff Mentoring Program, the California Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators (CALSA) for a mentoring program that still exists and was my initial mentoring program venture, Project Vista at California State University Channel Islands, and only recently signed an agreement to consult with ACSA (Association of California School Administrators) toward the development of their own Administrator Mentoring Program.

Over the years it has been my pleasure to see the success that mentoring brings to new and experienced administrators. Protégés (often called mentees) most often gain confidence in their roles and learn to serve others; mentors realize that mentoring helps them share what they have learned and helps develop a legacy.

There have been times over the years that the continual reminder to others that it is our (mentors) duty to serve others through mentoring has been exhausting. Much too often the technical aspects of surviving as an administrator push mentoring relationships and respecting other cultures and ethnicities aside (my next short article).

At some point in time we have all been mentored and many of us mentor, often without realizing that we are doing so. It is important that we take a few moments (actually more than a few moments) to understand that at the end of the day, what we do, who we lead, and how we succeed, is because of each other; especially those that guide us in our journey…our mentors.


Dr. Kenneth R. Magdaleno, Executive Director
Center for Leadership, Equity, and Research (CLEAR)
559-431-5600 t | 559-346-8728 c

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