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June 2021 - Jesus Escarcega

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

LA LUZ DE LIDERAZO - A MEMBERSHIP SPOTLIGHT

June 2021

June 2021 - Jesus Escarcega

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 Co Chair, Past Chair and Chair with the Founding CO-ALAS Board, Jesus "Chuy" Escarcega, Retired Administrator.

Chuy shares his professional career and current bio below. You can read the diverse experiences that have led to his various leadership roles. One of our shining stars!


Career Highlights & Education

In January 2021, I celebrated my 43rd 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. I began as an elementary teacher, then a resource teacher, later becoming a coordinator for state and federal programs and lastly a director. I had the pleasure to serve on several advisory committees for the AZ/CO Department of Education, was a Board Member/Officer on numerous state education associations, served on advisory committees for the City of Phoenix/Aurora and a member of the Board for Phoenix Elementary School and two Denver Charter Schools.

I grew up in Douglas, AZ, a border town, and first heard English on 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 my relationships with certain educators, I was able to succeed in school, which eventually led to my decision to become an educator.


What is exciting about my job? I’ve been fortunate to be in a position for most of my career-where I directed many programs that serve and support our most diverse student populations. It became a passion for me to be in a position where I could advocate for our most disadvantaged students and their families, which has been very rewarding to me. I have also been fortunate 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/a: 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.


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 include community members as part of your process, if you are able. Most importantly, learn from those who are the closest to the students and their community.


If you catch me outside the office, you’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 visiting our families in AZ, CA and MI. How does CO-ALAS add value? As I look at my retirement from public education, I can say that one of my career highlights that I am very proud of was my involvement with CO-ALAS, both as a member and serving on the Board. It’s been a fantastic experience watching it develop from an idea, to discussions with colleagues on the concept, the forming of the state association that eventually became the fourth state affiliate of ALAS. Finally, looking back at the successes and milestones of the association and what we have accomplished in the past 14 years is incredible. By offering our members the following program, from the annual leadership conference, the Latina Leadership Conference, the Administrator Job Fair and the 4 Corners Latinx Leadership Academy, as well as, expanding the number of delegates that represent the state on the Board, CO-ALAS made amazing accomplishments given our short time as a state association for Latino/a/x educational leaders. Also we can point out past members (5) who have become superintendents and members who were recipients of the ALAS Scholarship (3), as well as having 2 CO members be named ALAS as the Superintendent of the Year. Also, with the exception of one year, CO has been represented on the ALAS Superintendent Leadership Academy.

Our success continues because of 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. As we continue to adjust to the unique needs of our students and their goals, I wish CO-ALAS many more years of continued success under the next generation who will step up to take the association to the next level as a viable association that needs to be at the table with other state associations.

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