September 2019 - Dr. Cynthia Trinidad-Sheahan

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

September 2019

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight.  Each month we 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 Dr. Cynthia Trinidad-Sheahan, Principal of New America School - Lowry Campus.

Career Highlights & Education

I started my career as a paraprofessional at Overland Trail Middle School working with Emergent Bilingual students in grades 6th-8th. I went to college as a non-traditional student thanks to the BUENO CENTER and Dr. Lorenso Aragon. Dr. Aragon came to visit the school to check on grant work, handed me an application for the BUENO Career-Ladder Program for individuals to attend college and become teachers. I was accepted and, as sometimes stated, “The rest is history…”, but the history includes raising three children while pursuing my dream of becoming a teacher. Thank goodness for a supportive husband. 

After graduating with my B.A., and earning a teaching license, I began teaching at Overland Trail Middle School and completed my M.A. within the first three years of my teaching career, again with the support of the BUENO Center. After teaching for seven years I began to work on my Ed.S degree in order to gain a principal license which I accomplished in two years while still teaching. I completed that in a fast and furious way and began my administrative career in Aurora Public Schools. 

As an administrator, I worked as a building administrator for four years in Aurora, before making the leap to a district level position as Director of Language Development for Boulder Valley School district and later in the Adams 14 School District. While I was working in Boulder Dr. Ron Cabrera brought me a letter about the University of Colorado Denver launching a Latinx Cohort--a  cohort to support Latinx individuals in gaining a doctorate degree. It was like the BUENO story all over again in my life. Opportunity was knocking once more. I answered. It was a great decision: a decision that was a lot of hard work, obstacles and challenges; but in the end well worth the commitment. I completed my doctorate in May of 2019.  

After working and advocating in Adams 14 I felt the desire to get back into a building to lead. I am now the principal at New America School-Lowry Campus. We are an “Alternative” high school with a majority of students of color and 20 different languages. A big highlight in my present position, is that we have implemented the Seal of Biliteracy for our students in 2018-2019 school year and graduated six students with the Seal of Biliteracy from my school. We work with students who are new as refugees and immigrants to the U.S. and/or were not successful in a traditional high school. The stories from our students are compelling. The students are amazing, and my job every day is to support them in being the next generation of leaders. They are not “AT RISK”, they are AT PROMISE!

What is exciting about my job?
The exciting thing every day with my job is working with our students. We have Latinx students from several Latin countries and from here in the U.S. who have a passion for their future and want to succeed. Knowing that our students will graduate and have support is rewarding.  Parent involvement is huge, especially since they may not have had a good experience with school previously. We work hard to make sure that parents are part of the educational journey. The greatest day is every time we graduate a student!

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader:
My advice is to listen more and talk less. There is so much power in pausing and listening. It is mportant to understand where individuals are coming from and what they bring to the conversation. More support can be given when individuals know they are heard, and they are valued. From students to staff, voice and value are very important in establishing strong relationships. I would also advise self-care. As leaders we can get lost in all of our work and hours that we put in, and we are no good to anyone or to our organization if we do not take care of ourselves. Take time to laugh;  take time to enjoy!  The last piece of advice is to never stop learning. Never stop moving forward and be authentic in our efforts.

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . .
You will find me jet skiing, riding my ATV, or watching the Denver Broncos. I love extreme sports outdoors and I love football. I was born and raised here in Colorado and the Broncos are my team!

How does CO-ALAS add value?
CO-ALAS has connected me with outstanding Latinx Leaders! Leaders who share the same values and want the same thing for our community. CO-ALAS has enriched what I know as an advocator and life long learner. The CO-ALAS conference has been an asset to my career in many ways and now have more professional and personal friendships because of CO-ALAS. I am very grateful for CO-ALAS. 

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