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February 2017 Member Spotlight - Dr. Ivan Duran

Dr. Ivan Duran
Deputy Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District, Dallas, Texas; ALAS Superintendents Leadership Academy Alum, Cohort V

Career Highlights & Education:

I am in my 27th year as an educator and I still remember my first teaching experience like it was yesterday.  In my career, I have had the opportunity to serve as a classroom teacher, an assistant principal, principal, Director of Instructional Technology, a principal supervisor and an assistant superintendent supporting schools. Developing and building relationships have always been central to my leadership and life.  I have been able to build trust and lasting relationships by making people feel valued and trusted as we work together as a team to solve some of the most complex issues we face in education. 

What I like best about my job:

I have been in Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) for six months now in my role as Deputy Superintendent.  I have loved talking with people and learning about the great work that has occurred in Dallas ISD as well as learning about areas where we can improve.  Dallas ISD has amazing community support and dedicated educators and staff who are striving to make Dallas ISD a premier urban district.  Being part of this effort makes me extremely proud and excited.

The best advice I have ever received:

I am fortunate to be working with Dr. Hinojosa and the best advice he gave me and our SLA Cohort V is to “just do you!”  Leaning into authentic leadership and being true to who I am has been great advice!

Advice I would give a superintendent or a school system leader:

Spend as much time as possible in schools observing, asking questions, and listening.  School leaders, teachers, students and staff want to share what is working and what is getting in the way of their work.  Taking the time to be in the field and learning is important for continuous improvement and acceleration.  Find a way to make it happen.  I do my best to be in schools one day a week and I consider it an essential function of my role. 

If I ever snuck out of work early, I would probably be found:

Being in nature! I love to be active and being outside helps me to stay grounded, to think, and to be present in the moment.  I enjoy walking, running, and biking so if I do ever sneak out of work early look for me on a trail!

People would be surprised to know:

I have studied the art of glass blowing as a means to express my creativity.  Any piece I have created is a work of art and even though it may be oddly shaped I find great joy in creating something.  Now that my doctorate work is complete I look forward to starting lessons again and creating pieces of glass art that are unique and colorful.

One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS:

ALAS is filled with some of the brightest and most innovative leaders who are doing amazing work for students.  As a member of the ALAS Superintendent's Leadership Academy Cohort Five I was able to learn from talented Latino leaders and colleagues.  This exposure pushed my thinking and helped me feel like I was part of something much bigger than myself or my work.  Members of ALAS have always been there for me to call or to shadow. I highly encourage other members to shadow a leader they admire or call someone for advice or guidance.  There is far too much wisdom and support in this organization to be isolated or feel like you are alone.