March 2021 - Dr. Michelle Chambers

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

March 2021

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. Michelle Chambers, Assistant Principal, K-5 Online Program in the Cherry Creek School District

Dr. Chambers shares her professional preparation and current bio below.  You can read the diverse experiences that have led to her leadership preparation and various leadership roles.  One of our shining stars!

Career Highlights & Education

My educational experience as a Latina student transformed from struggle and uncertainty, to hope, belief, and ultimately achievement.  My personal experiences of overcoming adversity coupled with the love, support, and encouragement of my family led me to becoming the first and only college graduate in my family.  I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Chapman University, my Master of Education in Elementary Education, Master of Arts in Gifted Education, and Principal Licensure from Regis University, and Doctor of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity from University of Colorado Denver.  

I have had the honor and privilege of serving as an elementary primary educator, intermediate educator, gifted and talented specialist, elementary differentiation coach, and assistant principal.  During my time as an educator and educational leader, I have been dedicated towards inclusive excellence for all students. One of the many lessons that I have learned while serving as an educational leader is the importance of finding authentic and meaningful ways to inspire community connection through creating a sense of belonging for all.  

For two years, it was my honor and privilege to serve the students, families, staff, and community at Mission Viejo Elementary School in the Cherry Creek School District.  The school community is truly a family that supports each other.  During the 2019-2020 school year, I had the incredible opportunity of leading an amazing group of school staff members and parents on the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Support) Committee.  In response to our community wanting to build school pride, revitalize our PBIS program, and make connections for the community between our PBIS acronym ROCK (Respectful, On Task and Organized, Caring, Knowledgeable) and school mascot (a roadrunner), we worked together as an entire community to create something magical and memorable for our community!  

During the summer of 2020, I was called to serve as the Assistant Principal of the K-5 Online Program in the midst of the pandemic.  My new role included hiring approximately 500 staff members, designing the general education, English Language Supports (ELS), and Gifted and Talented Cluster team structures, coordinating the training for all staff on the online Learning Management System (LMS) and curriculum, problem solving with the Information Systems (IS) department to build the new online infrastructure, and collaborating with the online registrars to build courses and schedules for 5,000 online students.  No matter what we encounter as leaners, educators, and educational leaders this year, it is essential for us to continue to seek new ways to inspire, empower, and demonstrate vulnerability and courage.  We must also listen to the needs of our community and respond through service by showing that during times of darkness we can and will “be a light” for our students, their families, and each other.  Being named a 2021 Colorado Outstanding Assistant Principal of the Year for Elementary Schools celebrates the students, families, and staff that I have had the privilege of serving, including those who find the courage to believe that overcoming adversity can lead to opportunities of service.

What is exciting about my job?
Since I was a little girl, my passion and calling have been to learn and teach.  No matter what adversity that I have encountered, education has always remained my constant light.  Education has continued to change the course of my life and led me to serving others in all that I do.  My personal story and experiences are the reasons why I lead with my purpose and values.  As an educational leader, my purpose and values remain my anchor and guiding light.  To this day, I am a learning leader who partners with my students, families, staff, and the community I serve.  From the moment I began teaching professionally, I stopped working and began serving with unwavering energy and commitment.  Each day that I am at a school, I feel energized, invigorated, and I am thankful and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as an educational leader.

Words from a consejero/a:
Being called to educational leadership is a true honor that began with my incredible mentors connecting me to leadership.  It was one of my inspiring principals of color who encouraged me to consider a career in administration.  My executive director of color nominated me to participate in the 2016-2017 CASE Leadership Diversity Development Program where I was able to learn about and explore the possibilities of aspiring to be an educational leader of color.  These amazing leaders taught me about the importance of mentorship and lifting others as I rise.  This concept reminds me of a quote that is based on the motto lifting as I rise, “I’m holding on to the escalera (ladder) with one hand, pero con la otra mano (but with the other hand), I’m trying to reach down and lift others with me as we climb” (Solorzano, & Yosso, 2001).

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader:
The calling to serve as an educational leader is not for those who seek to, but rather those who are called to. This reminds me of the words shared by Dr. Jose Enriquez at the 10th Annual CO-ALAS Leadership Conference, “True leadership isn’t those who seek leadership, but rather those who position themselves to serve those who seek leadership.” As leaders, we serve those we lead.  

My personal experiences of overcoming adversity, embracing education, and connecting to leadership have led to my calling of leading with my purpose and values to empower students, families, and staff to learn, believe, achieve, and succeed in all that they do.  Leading with our purpose and values helps to keep leaders anchored through all we encounter.  As Brene Brown mentioned “It’s important to remember that there are no guarantees in the arena.  We will struggle.  We will even fail.  There will be darkness.  But if we are clear about the values that guide us in our efforts to show up and be seen, we will always be able to find the light.  We will know what it means to live brave.”

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . .
me spending time laughing, cooking, eating and taking walks with my husband, daughter, and son, practicing Taekwondo with my daughter, working out, and making homemade tortillas with my Abuelita, mom, and hija in the warmth and coziness of my Abuelita’s casita. 

How does CO-ALAS add value?
From the moment that I attended my first CO-ALAS conference and was greeted by Chuy with a with a hug and the words “Hi, welcome, mija,” I felt like I was with family and have been attached ever since.  Being a member of CO-ALAS means being welcomed, supported, and empowered by familia.

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