Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents
LA LUZ DE LIDERAZO - A MEMBERSHOP SPOTLIGHT
Welcome to the CO ALAS “Membership Spotlight.” Each month we want to introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their minds.
This month, we are featuring the Immediate Past Chair and a founding member of the CO ALAS Board, Jesús “Chuy” Escárcega, Grants Director for Aurora Public Schools.
What is your education background and what are some of your career highlights?
In January 2017, I celebrated my 39th year as a public school educator, serving K-12 students in Arizona and Colorado. I earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in Education Leadership from Arizona State University.
Over the years, I’ve worked in eight school districts in Arizona and Colorado as an elementary teacher, resource teacher, administrator for ELA & Federal Programs and currently as the Aurora Public Schools Grants Director. I served on several advisory committees for the AZ/CO Department of Education, was a Board Member on numerous state associations and enjoyed one term on the Phoenix Elementary School Board.
I grew up in Douglas, AZ, a border town, and heard English for the first time during my very first day of school in first grade. I still remember that day, as the Spanish-speaking students sat in the back of the classroom and just colored. As soon as we learned enough English, we were allowed to sit with the other students. I have a picture of a classroom from that time period in my office to remind me that no student should have to sit in the back until they can prove themselves able of joining the group. Thanks to these early experiences as a developing bilingual student and to my relationships with certain educators, I was able to succeed in school, which eventually led to my decision to become an educator.
What is so exciting about your job?
I’ve been fortunate to be in a position—for most of my career--where I’ve had direct oversight of programs that serve and support our diverse student populations. To be in a position to advocate for our disadvantaged students and their families is very rewarding to me. I like to educate my colleagues that all students bring a gift and that positive relationships make a difference with all of our students, especially from our Latino community.
Words from a consejero.
Remember your familia, your roots, and thank those who mentored you on your career path. And when you are a successful administrator, be willing to mentor the next generation of leaders, especially our Latino/a educators.
What advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader?
As you venture into a new situation or position, rely on the strengths and skill sets that helped you rise to the position. Learn all that you can about the school and community before applying and visit the community, if you are able. Most importantly, learn from those who are the closest to the community.
If someone catches you outside the office, they’ll find . . .
Outside of work, I enjoy drawing and sketching. However, I’ve taken photography a little more seriously over the last few years and enjoy matting/framing pictures from our travels. Most importantly, I enjoy spending time with my lovely wife, Lisa, and when possible, visiting our families in AZ, CA and MI.
How does CO ALAS add value?
I’ve very proud to be a member of CO ALAS. It’s been great watching it develop from an idea to hosting discussions on the concept forming an association to its creation as a state association, recognized by ALAS. Finally, looking back to the successes and milestones this association accomplished in less than 10 years of existence is incredible. Our success is due to the many individuals who believe in CO ALAS and see the value of belonging to a network that will support its members’ growth, help them rise to high leadership positions and be advocates for all students, especially our Latino students and families.
Congratulations to Ivan Duran who was named Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education for Denver Public Schools effective January 1. Duran previously served as the Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education in DPS and has been an educator for 23 years. Duran came to DPS from Aurora Public Schools, where he served as an elementary school assistant principal, principal, and Director of Educational Technology.
Congratulations to CO-ALAS members, Dr. Marisol Enriquez and Dr. Robyn Duran, who were selected for the ALAS – HMH Superintendent Leadership Academy. Dr. Enriquez is a Director for the Vista Peak P-20 Campus with the Aurora School District and Dr. Duran is the Executive Director for Excellence & Equity with the Cherry School District.
This is our third year in a row that individuals from Colorado have been selected to participate in the Academy. T. Jason Martinez and Patrick Sanchez participated in the 1st and 2nd co-horts. Sanchez is currently serving as the Superintendent of Adams 14 School District in Commerce City, CO.
The Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents recently named Denver Public Schools Chief Academic Officer, Susana Cordova, as a board director. Cordova was a keynote speaker at a recent CO-ALAS conference. In addition to Cordova, this video also features ALAS Executive Board member Carlos A. Garcia and CASE member Ron Cabrera.
Thank you to Bobby Velez of FC Entertainment who generously donated his services to create this video.