March 2017 Member Spotlight - Jeanette Rodriguez-Chien

Jeanette Rodriguez-Chien

Chief Academic Officer, Santa Clara County Office of Education, San Jose, California Ms. Chien is also an ALAS Superintendents Leadership Academy graduate, Cohort V

Career Highlights & Education: 

I have served students in public education for over 25 years. I have taught at the elementary school level, have served in the capacity of federal programs coordinator, assistant principal, principal, district administrator, and am currently the Chief Academic Officer in the Santa Clara County of Education. I have found that my greatest pride comes from building the capacity of others to serve our students and provide access and invaluable opportunities for rigorous instruction and productive learning environments. My core values as a leader revolve around equity for students and ensuring that the needs of students are always at the forefront of decision-making and strategic planning. I believe that my role as a Latina leader is to ensure that others are empowered to focus on positive educational outcomes for students of color.

What I like best about my job: 

I enjoy building relationships and collaborative structures to bring people together to share their best thinking and foster creativity and innovation. I enjoy the complexity of looking at various initiatives and programs and establishing frameworks at a systems level, where these do not become isolated things to do, but rather tools and vehicles to broader outcomes for students.  I believe in the power of learning for students, but also for the adults at every level of an organization. I feel like I've contributed and been most productive when others are inspired to take on new challenges.

The best advice I’ve ever received:

Our business is about people--those we serve, those we can grow, and those who can have a positive impact. Relationships are critical and how we care for and interact with others is paramount to our success. Another key piece of advice is that you understand the culture and context of the system you work in. As a leader, you work alongside others to bring about positive change within the context of the community you serve. 

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

Work hard at listening to understand, to support and to empower others. Building trust is a critical component in establishing relationships and taking time to truly listen to others allows you to uncover beliefs, values, and perceptions. Know that the best solutions to most problems come from within
the organization and the people that can best carry them out are on your team. As a leader, it is your responsibility to create the space for collaboration and risk-taking. The power of a team has limitless possibilities.

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

You would find me on a hiking trail. Being in nature gives me time to reflect and truly understand how those things that seem insignificant are truly a blessing and make the world a beautiful place. Taking time to decompress allows me to be focused, creative and energized when I return to work. 

People would be surprised to know: 

That I am really mellow by nature, but also find kick boxing classes and target shooting to be exhilarating. 

One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS: 

I wish more people knew that ALAS is an amazing organization that is committed to preparing and supporting Latino/a administrators through various programs and events. The ALAS Superintendents Academy is a venue for members to building your capacity and readiness to lead districts. The network and relationships established are like no other and you truly feel like part of a professional family. My experience as part of Cohort V was invaluable and I truly admire my hermanos y hermanas that stretched my thinking and allowed me to grow.