December 2015 Member Spotlight - Steve Holmes

Steve Holmes,

Sunnyside Unified School District
Tucson, AZ

Career Highlights & Education: I have been an educator in the greater Tucson area for over 20 years as a Bilingual Teacher, Principal, Director, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent. My most recent position was as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), the second largest district in Arizona. As the instructional leader for that district, I led a large steering committee of over fifty community members, teacher leaders, administrators, and parents through the strategic development of annual goals and objectives in support of the District’s teaching and learning vision. This steering committee formed the framework for the district’s curriculum, instruction, professional development, data, and assessment. This work marked the first time in over a decade that a long-term strategic plan for TUSD in these key areas was developed and executed.

As a champion for equity, I have served as a key witness on behalf of the plaintiffs in the high profile Flores vs. Arizona desegregation case. I have also facilitated an educational panel for the National Congressional Hispanic Caucus Conference where I spoke on policy implications for English Language Learners in relation to the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I have also been invited to share best practices for providing meaningful access to Limited English Proficient families on behalf of the Office of Civil Rights at a national language conference.

I hold a Masters Degree in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University where I was a member of the Urban Superintendents Program (USP). I also hold a Masters Degree in Educational Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelors of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

What I like best about my jobI love working collaboratively with innovative leaders and community members to develop new school models that will significantly improve academic success and enrich the lives of students. I am honored and humbled to work and learn together with such an amazing team as we have here in Sunnyside.

The best advice I’ve ever received is:  Leadership is about purpose and not position. A leader who is about purpose, is selfless in how he/she works to improve the conditions for teaching and learning for every child, in every classroom, every day.

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school system leader: Get to know the community that you serve deeply: the history, the culture and the people.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found: You would find me at home playing with my 7 year old twin boys.”

People would be surprised to know that:  I am an avid musician (rock band drummer) that has played semi-professionally for years.

One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS is:  ALAS is an excellent network of highly committed leaders who are dedicated to ensuring equity and excellence in education.