June 2014 Member Spotlight - Edward Lee Vargas, Ph.D.

Edward Lee Vargas, Ph.D.,
Kent School District
Kent, Washington

Career Highlights & Education:  

Education: A Doctorate of Education from the University of Washington. 

Career Highlights: Working with teams to create innovative programs that promote equity and excellence for all kids, such as iGrad which received the NSBA Magna Award in 2014, Kinder to College where we take all our kindergartners to college campuses to visualize them into high expectations, or Project Volver that returns students that have dropped out to complete their education.  Being named California State Superintendent of the Year in 2006 and Washington State Superintendent of the Year in 2014because these were really about the great teams that I’ve been most fortunate to be part of.

What I like best about my job is:  Helping others and relentlessly focusing on equity and excellence for every single student.

The best advice I’ve ever received is:  To strive to balance my personal life, work life, family and community.  But from my father, the most important advice is to relax and enjoy life.

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school system leader:  Prepare yourself well for the role and always, always keep kids at the center of your decisions.

If I ever snuck out of work early, I could probably be found:  Amazed that I managed to sneak out of work.

People would be surprised to know that:  I worked my way through college as a forest firefighter.

One thing I wish more people knew about ALAS is:  That at its core is a strong sense of family/familia that makes it the unique, vibrant and distinctive national leadership organization that it is.