October 2017 - Jesús Rodríguez

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

October 2017

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 mind.

This month we are featuring the Principal of Trevista at Horace Mann in the Denver Public Schools, Jesús Rodríguez.

What is your education background and what are some of your career highlights? I grew up a simultaneously bilingual and always excelled academically but tended to really struggle with engagement and behavior. Because of my travesuras, I barely graduated high school and didn’t know if I would go to college.

I attended the University of Northern Colorado and became the first in my family to graduate from a university in the US. After becoming a teacher, I later concurrently began a graduate program at the University of Colorado where I earned my Masters. I had an amazing experience as a teacher and exceeded expectations in terms of student outcomes each year.  As a teacher and graduate student, it became clear to me that I wanted to have a larger impact on improving educational outcomes and opportunities for more students so I began my principal certificate program at the University of Denver.  Afterwards, I stayed at DU and I began a doctoral program that I am scheduled to complete this year; during this time I also began my leadership journey at Trevista at Horace Mann. I am very proud to say that under my leadership, Trevista has moved from being in a state of turnaround on probation with the state and district to now meeting expectations.  We have been able to turn Trevista around through our innovation status, which has allowed for flexibility on how we maximize our people, time, and money. Our instructional leadership model has been a huge lever, too, developing a system of distributed leadership that allows for regular educator development and support.  I am very proud to have laid the foundation for a vision of excellence and distinction at our school!

What is so exciting about my job? The most exciting part of my job is that I get to work with an incredible group of educators who are strongly committed to our mission and vision to close opportunity gaps for students every day!  I get to support our staff to ensure our students are loved and safe, held to high expectations, and experience joy in learning.  We are part of a small anomaly in the turnaround school space and it is exciting to know that we are preparing more of our students to maximize their potential and achieve/pursue anything they are interested in!

Words from a consejeroA few words of wisdom from Superintendent of the Bellevue School District in Washington, Dr. Ivan Duran: Spend as much time as possible observing, asking questions, and listening.  All stakeholders want to share what is working and what is getting in their way.  These words resonate with me because we need to find a way to remove barriers for our stakeholders in the service of our students; it is key to our roles in ensuring educational equity for all students by giving teachers the tools/resources they need including development and time.

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader?  Each leader’s journey is different but I know with high certainty that we are all interested in doing our part to create a more equitable and socially just world for all students.  I know I am here by the grace of God and it is my honor and duty to positively impact the lives of as many young people as possible, as it is your duty.  In the words of the great boxing and social justice champion, Muhammad Ali, “don’t count the days, make the days count.”  You are too blessed to be stressed so work hard and celebrate your small wins while keeping your eye on the big win for students.  Be a champion!

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find me . . . I am a doctoral candidate and I know my committee chair would expect me to say that you will find me in the library at the University of Denver working really hard on my research when outside of the office (and you would catch me there, too).  However, for the purposes of promoting self-care and wellness, I am going to say that you might find me at City Park Golf Course in Denver playing 18 holes in great company.

How does CO ALAS add value? Approximately 25% of U.S. K-12 students are Latino but only about 8% of teachers are. We know that it can often feel lonely because there are so few of us in the field. However, there are more of us than we sometimes know about and CO-ALAS is a great avenue to expand your professional network and find other Latino professionals to collaborate with, be mentored by, or offer mentorship to.  I have met so many great colleagues since joining in 2011 and am currently in the ALAS Superintendent Leadership Academy because of the local support and mentorship I have received through CO ALAS.  Join us!

CO-ALAS is a professional education association that advocates for the continued development and placement of Latino/Latina administrators who are committed to quality public education for all students.


PO Box 13109
Denver, CO 80201