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November 2016 Member Spotlight - Dr. Rosanna Mucetti

Dr. Rosanna Mucetti
Deputy Superintendent 
San Leandro Unified School District, San Leandro, CA; ALAS Superintendents Leadership Academy Alum, Cohort II

Career Highlights & Education: 

I have been working in public education for nearly two decades. I have served as a bilingual teacher, English Learner program specialist, assistant principal, principal, manager of curriculum and English Learner Services, assistant superintendent and deputy superintendent in school districts that serve culturally and linguistically diverse communities. In addition, I had the unique opportunity of working at an educational nonprofit doing both national and international work to promote innovative teaching and learning at a systems level for two years. During this tenure, I had the opportunity of working with school system leaders all over the country and even abroad with the ministry of education in the Dominican Republic which all enriched my perspective as to how school systems can work and be improved. Five years ago, I completed a dissertation titled, From Compliance to Instruction: Reforming English Learner Support Services. I am proud of my commitment and ability to relentlessly establish a standard of excellence with the staff that I work with. This standard of excellence ensures we are working at the highest performance level to address the opportunity gap our students face in schools.

What I like best about my job: 

I greatly appreciate complexity and challenges. As one works to improves the conditions and expectations in public education, a leader faces leadership challenges throughout the day that involve short term and long term strategic thinking and planning. I am passionate about collaboratively finding strategic solutions on the instructional, operational and political levels to dramatically improve the learning environment for our students.

The best advice I’ve ever received:

The best advice a mentor provided me was to recognize and deeply understand that the work of improving schools cannot be done alone. Effective leaders find ways to unify teams and community members around the important goal of academic achievement. If we intend to transform our school systems, it's important to build capacity and empower the people doing the work. Effective leaders get people energized and allow them to take ownership of their roles in the change process. 

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school system leader: 

Remember the importance of communication. All too often in school systems we forget about how valuable consistent, effective communication is for employees, families and communities at large. Make sure you are sharp and tactical when deploying reactive communication. But most importantly, ensure you have a system in place to proactively communicate about the great work happening in your schools. We need to market ourselves as school districts so that we increase the communities' confidence in our ability to effectively educate all students.

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

I would likely be found out on a long hike with my dog. Most mornings I start my day very early with a hike. I greatly appreciate the serenity of the early morning outdoors. It serves as a great way to ground yourself and stay in the moment before facing the challenges that come our way as school leaders. 

People would be surprised to know: 

I love to dance. Growing up in a Cuban household meant always listening to salsa music as the backdrop for life. I grew up listening to all the amazing Cuban musicians and bands which meant dance was always a way to celebrate life too. I still take as many opportunities as possible to listen to live music and dance. Music and dance also serve as a great way to decompress as I do the hard work that we face in public education.

One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS: 

It is so important for the field to recognize the value of an organization explicitly focused on the development of Latino/a leadership. School systems have historically marginalized Latino communities often requiring students and families to leave their race, culture and language at the door before engaging with school. ALAS commits to ensuring that our school systems have leaders in place who instead embrace students' race, culture and language and view them as assets within the school setting. ALAS empowers so many of us to also feel confident and competent in the transformative work that we do. I became more confident to lead with a lens of equity and social justice knowing organizations like ALAS promote equity focused leadership on a national and systems level, particularly for Latino students.