University of San Diego School of Leadership and Education Sciences

ELDA Reaches Ten Year Mark
San Diego County Teacher of the Year Award
New ELDA Faculty Member
ELDA Summer Institute
ELDA Principal's Forum
ELDA Spotlight Speaker Series
Publicity for ELDA
ELDA Ten-Year Celebration
Educational Leadership Development Academy
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92122
ELDA Reaches Ten Year Mark
By Melinda Martin, ELDA Executive Director
M. Martin
In September 2009 ELDA welcomed the tenth cohort of aspiring principals! Since the first cohort of ELDA students completed the program and received their credential in May 2000, ELDA has trained and certified over 102 Aspiring Leaders (Tier I Preliminary Administrative Services Credential candidates), 67 New Leaders (Tier II Professional Administrative Services Credential candidates) and 33 Math, Literacy and Science Administrators.  In addition, 41 candidates have completed the Leaders Exploring Administrative Possibilities (LEAP) Program, and many of these candidates joined the ELDA Aspiring Leaders program.  Approximately 75 % of ELDA graduates hold administrative positions in local school districts, private and charter schools, in the state of California, and nationally. 

This fall, ELDA welcomed 13 students who make up cohort Ten.  These students represent public, private, and charter schools.  They are:

  • Mindy Davis, Normal Heights Elementary
  • Carmen Diaz, King Chavez Primary
  • Jeannette Estrada, Las Palmas Elementary
  • Monica Galvan, EJE Academics
  • Christine Harris, Burbank Elementary School
  • Kyle Hickey, Horizon Prep
  • Michael Jakl, Hancock Elementary
  • Kelly Kovacic, The Preuss School
  • Gail Paradez, Special Education Office, San Diego Unified School District
  • Marguerite Pini, St. John's School
  • Liana Rodriguez, Otay Ranch High School
  • Norma Sandoval, Hoover High School
  • Kerry Shea, Normal Heights Elementary
Cohort 10

Cohort Nine students have been taking courses in the ELDA Program and apprenticing since Sept. 2008.  They will complete the program in Summer 2010.  These students are:

  • Cresencia Angeles, Mater Dei Catholic High
  • Mariana Apalategui
  • Emmitt Dodd, Mission Bay High School
  • Armando Farias, Walter J. Porter Elementary
  • Alejandra Gomez, The Language Academy
  • Amy Griffiths, The Language Academy
  • Araceli Jimenez, Knox Elementary
  • Elizabeth Joseph, St. Michael's School
  • Dan Lang, Francis Parker School
  • Julius Lockett, Clairemont High School
  • Edna Mikulanis, Joyner Elementary
  • Tertia Miyashiro, Keiller Leadership Academy
  • Carlos Ramirez, Twain High School and Taft Middle School
  • John Ross, Lincoln High School
Cohort 9

Congratulations are in order for ELDA graduates who were recently promoted to administrative positions:

  • Julia Bridi-Freel, Principal, Chollas Elementary, San Diego Unified School District
  • Kathy Burns, Principal, Gage Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District
  • Cathy Calcagno, Principal, Vista Grande elementary School, San Diego Unified School District
  • Sylvia Echeverria,  Assistant Principal, Salt Creek Elementary School, Chula Vista School District
  • Barbara Israel, Vice Principal, Miller Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District
  • Milton Martin, Principal, Oak Park Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District
  • Kimberly Meng, Principal, Rolando Park Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District
  • Lori Moore, Vice Principal, Porter Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District
  • Francisco Morga, Principal Jefferson Elementary, San Diego Unified School District
We wish these ELDA graduates well in their new positions.
Kelly Kovacic receives San Diego County Teacher of the Year Award
Kelly Kovacic
Kelly Kovacic, member of ELDA Aspiring Leaders Cohort 10, and social studies teacher at the Pruess School, was selected with four other teachers for the San Diego County Teacher of the Year Award. Kelly then was nominated with one other San Diego teacher for the California Teacher of the Year award. Congratulations, Kelly! 
New ELDA Faculty Member Dr. Rose Linda Martinez
This fall, ELDA welcomed a new faculty member, Dr. Rose Linda Martinez.  Dr. Martinez is a visiting professor in the Leadership Studies Department.  We are fortunate to have her working with the ELDA Program.  Dr Martinez teaches EDLD 558 School Leadership and the Politics of Education, EDLD 597P Practicum, and supervises ELDA apprentices.

Dr. Martinez is a professor, consultant, businesswoman, and "visionary of the possible." Using multicultural stories, narratives, dialogue, and creative expressions from more than 25 years of research and experience, Dr. Martinez has taught the transformative functions of leadership and how they can be applied to reconnect organizations and individuals with visionary living.

Having earned her doctoral and master's degrees in education from Vanderbilt University, a former teacher and principal, Dr. Martinez has also been a faculty member at New Mexico Highlands University, taught at the University of Arizona and served as an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut.

As the founder of Martinez and Associates in 1996, she continues to work with groups throughout business, government and education. Her many clients have included Altria, Citibank, Sony Pictures, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and many others. Dr. Martinez has also specialized in the development and implementation of educational programs worldwide. Most recently she helped to improve educational leadership in the Escuelas Don Bosco school systems of Bolivia. Prior to this, as a consultant for Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL), she assisted schools of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Dr. Martinez has also served Native American communities, tribal governments, and native schools nationwide. Prior to forming her own consulting business she worked as a senior consultant for Pecos River/AON and Wilson Consulting from 1995 to 2000. Clients there included Citigroup, Intel, Miller, Cargill, Time Warner, United Airlines, and Kaiser Permanente among others.
Principals Ongoing Support and Training (POST), a new ELDA program
The Stuart foundation has funded a new ELDA Program, POST, to provide:

  1. A high-quality structured professional development program for twelve principals and three members of their site leadership team
  2. One on one coaching for the principal from a qualified experienced coach/mentor
  3. Paid registration for the principal and three members of the site  leadership team to attend the 2009-10 ELDA Spotlight speaker series
The POST program will provide for a renewal of leadership skills for the principals while the focus of the professional development and the work with the coach will provide strategies, knowledge and skills to assist the principal and the leadership team to build capacity and accelerate the performance of all students.

The three broad goals of the POST program are to provide:  
  • Four days per year of professional development for the principal and leadership team based on the school/district's needs
  • Additional professional development for the principal and leadership team through attendance at the ELDA Spotlight Speaker Series
  • One on one coaching for the principal
The first day of POST Professional Development was September 24, 2009.  The keynote speaker was Damen Lopez of Turnaround Schools.  His topic was Universal Achievement. In the afternoon principals, leadership team members, and coaches attended breakout sessions on Response to Intervention, and Academic Vocabulary Development.

The twelve principals and their leadership teams are employees of the Lemon Grove, Oceanside, Santee and South Bay Union School Districts in San Diego County. The principals/schools are:

  • Andy Johnston, Chet F. Harritt School, Santee
  • Stephanie Southcott, PRIDE Academy at Prospect School, Santee
  • Lisa McColl, Rio Seco School, Santee
  • Russell Little, Palm Middle, Lemon Grove School District
  • Frank Balanon, Foussant Elementary, Oceanside
  • Steve Bessant, Lincoln Middle, Oceanside
  • Eileen Frazier, Jefferson Middle, Oceanside
  • Cheri Sanders, Cesar Chavez Middle, Oceanside
  • Bob Daily, Pence Elementary, South Bay Union
  • Ruth Frazier, Nicoloff Elementary, South Bay Union
  • Don Visnick, Mendoza Elementary School, South Bay Union
  • Patty Valdivia, Bayside Elementary, South Bay Union

Later in this newsletter, you will read an article by Dr. Barbara Brooks on the role of a POST coach.
ELDA sponsored the fourth annual Summer Institute in July 2009. The Institute, "Leading Schools in a Flat World: Principal Globalization and its Implications for Education" featured keynote speakers Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus University of Toronto, Matthew T. Spathas, Partner SENTRE Partners/CEO, Bandwith Now, and Yong Zhao, Director for the Center of Teaching and Technology, Michigan State University.

Later in this newsletter, you will find an article written by Dr. Julie Martel, principal of Pacific Beach Middle School in San Diego Unified. Julie and a team of teachers from her school attended the Summer Institute.
ELDA Principal's Forum
The Educational Leadership Development Academy (ELDA) launched the first ELDA Forum and moderator training on April 17, 18, 2009.

Forum is a group of 8-10 members who meet on a regular basis in an atmosphere of confidentiality, trust, and openness to share in each other's business, family and personal experiences.  Forum provides an ongoing opportunity to share and discuss with a group of peers the issues that arise from being a principal. A principals' job has often been characterized as being "lonely at the top."  Forum serves as an antidote to that isolation. The breadth of topics discussed and the long-term life of the group, the commonality and diversity of members, the use of peer moderation, and the close relationships that develop combine to create a strong support group for principals.  See the article written by Forum member Elizabeth Larkin, Principal of the San Diego Early Middle College.

Pictured Forum Members: Standing row: Bernadette Nguyen, Fabiola Bagula, Anne Worrall, Melinda Martin, Richard Lawrence, and Elizabeth Larkin. Bottom row: Sharifa Abukar, Veronika Lopez-Mendez, Julie Martel , Pam Thompson, Luisa Vargas

A new group of Forum members received training on October 24.  If you are a principal or vice principal who is interested in becoming a member of Forum, please send an email to

Fourth Annual ELDA Spotlight Speaker Series
Following on the success of the ELDA Summer Institute and continuing the theme of 21st century skills, the Fourth Annual ELDA Spotlight Speaker Series   Transforming Education: Digital Learning, Creativity, and Student Engagement" was sold out by October 1.  See the article by Dr. Freda Callahan, ELDA Program Consultant for more information on this excellent speaker series. 

Positive Publicity for ELDA
In March 2009, ELDA was cited as an "Exemplary Principal Preparation Program" by the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. This research brief focused on the major challenges facing the education leadership workforce, reviewed existing data about California principals, and described promising programs.  To read the Executive Summary, go to 

The ELDA Program-My Choice for a quality educational experience
By Carlos Ramirez
Carlos Ramirez
My name is Carlos Ramirez, I am an English Learner Support teacher for the San Diego Unified School District and I have long been in the pursuit of finding a graduate school that was right for me, I looked for a university that could meet my academic needs as well as fulfill my dream of becoming a school leader. Before USD, I had taken graduate and professional development courses at many local universities.  I had also attended informational meetings for programs offering an administrative credential. I had asked colleagues for their recommendations and their experiences. In the end, I chose a school where I could see myself enjoying and succeeding in my studies, and expanding my leadership skills. The ELDA program at USD has far exceeded my expectations.

Throughout my first year in the ELDA Program, I received an outstanding education from professors and school leaders who have helped me on a professional and personal level.  I believe that the courses have helped in my maturing process as well as helping me become fully involved in my school community. I have also had the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship under the leadership of Marian Kim Phelps, principal at Zamorano Fine Arts Academy. I feel very fortunate to have learned so much from Mrs. Phelps and her tremendous team. During my ELDA apprenticeship I learned how to apply distributive leadership, and how to delegate responsibilities in order to collaborate in a school setting that requires every staff member to be accountable and responsible for the success of all students. There is no textbook or course that can equate to the apprenticeship.

As I look back to a year ago, I know I could not have made a better decision than to have enrolled at the ELDA Graduate Program at USD. As I go through my life, I  will encourage others to take a closer look at what the ELDA Program has to offer. ELDA offers more than an administrative credential or an M. A. ELDA offers a powerful change that can transform and make a difference in the lives of hundreds of students and staff in our schools. I am a firm believer in change and innovation that leads to accelerated learning for students.  Without a doubt the ELDA program has changed my mind, heart, soul, and spirit. I am honored and proud to be an ELDA graduate student.

Carlos Ramirez, English Learner Support Teacher, Mark Twain High School and Taft Middle School
By Freda Callahan Ed.D
Nationally and internationally acclaimed presenters make up the roster for this year's Fourth Annual Spotlight on Education Series. The need to provide a 21st century education for our 21st century students is glaringly apparent. How do we as educational leaders provide a well- rounded education for our students who are living in a globalized, flat world?

Ken Kay, President of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills is the kick-off speaker  and on October 15 will address four components of the Framework for the 21st Century Learning: 1. Core subjects and 21st century themes 2. Learning and innovation skills 3.Information, media, and technology skills and 4. Life and career skills. (The remainder of our Spotlight presenters will go further in-depth in each one of these components.)

On November 19, Marc Prensky will speak to the topic of methods to engage and connect students to learning.  How do we (digital immigrants) deal with delivering instruction to our students (digital natives) and what effect will today's digital youth have on business and education?

On February 18, 2010, Sir Ken Robinson whose most recent book, "The Element" looks at human creativity and education argues that most creative processes are the results of collaboration and benefiting from diversity. He will share his findings about what he believes is at the heart of the creative process.

March 18th brings Alan November to Spotlight and in a thought provoking presentation he will address students' use of collaborative online tools, research and global communications skills to add value to the learning community, to help us rethink and refine our approach to education and technology.

The final Spotlight session features Milton Chen, who in addition to his doctorate degree in communications research from Stanford holds the coveted title of Jedi Master (conferred by George Lucas). Dr Chen, who is currently the Executive Director of the George Lucas Educational foundation and the Edutopia Program will share examples of Edutopia's work and engage the audience with models that can be adapted to create a school system for the future.

Freda Callahan Ed.D, ELDA Program Consultant
Success in a Flat World
By Julie Martel Ed.D
In July, teachers and administrators from through the county including myself and a team from Pacific Beach Middle School attended the University of San Diego's Summer Institute, Leading Schools in a Flat World: Globalization and Its Implications for Education. The Institute helped define future implications and possibilities for global education. The institute provided administrators and teacher leaders with ways to ensure every learner has the skills and knowledge to be successful in a "flat world".  The focus of the institute aligned with the philosophy and framework of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programs.  Pacific Beach Middle School is an IB school, so we were quite interested in this alignment.

Michael Fullan opened the institute with his "Six Secrets of Change" highlighting strategies for preparing an organization for change. The IB is a reflective organization that is constantly revising and growing as they implement changes to the IB curriculum. Because students are always changing and they must learn to adapt to an ever-increasingly changing world, helping them to negotiate and learn to learn and apply skills, attitudes, knowledge, and global understandings will better prepare students than a static education based on facts and rote memorization. Change is embraced by IB schools.

Matthew Spathas, from Lightspeed, discussed technologies and school reform that must focus on building connectivity, collaboration and communication. International Baccalaureate is aligned with this vision as Middle Years Programmes (MYP) are required to teach IB MYP Technology courses focusing on systems, materials and information and communication technologies.
Dr Yong. Zhou's discussion of which skills are "worth knowing and learning" aligned with the IB's focus on using a variety of courses and assessment tools that define students achievement above and beyond academic knowledge .In the IB, student attitudes, engagement, creativity and ingenuity are also valued, assessed and reported.

As an International Baccalaureate World School, the skills and knowledge my team gained from participation in the institute will be used at our school to inspire our decisions as we move prepare our students for success in a "flat world".

Julie Martel Ed.D Principal, Pacific Beach Middle School
Principal's Ongoing Support and Training (POST) Coaching: a Challenging and Exciting Opportunity
By Barbara Brooks, Ed.D
An exciting adventure awaits me and the other POST coaches as we begin this school year.  I have had an opportunity to meet with both of the principals whom I will coach, and their selected leadership teams, and I am impressed with their energy, enthusiasm, and eagerness to participate in the POST program to improve their school's performance.

I am looking forward to attending, with the principals and their leadership teams, the ELDA Spotlight Speaker Series and the POST professional development training that has been planned for this year for coaches, principals and three members of their leadership team.  We will glean knowledge, strategies, and ideas from these sessions and then use our collective skills and experience to plan implementation for enhancing teaching and learning through the school's Professional Learning Communities.  This will be challenging, fun, and a rewarding opportunity for all of us.

After my first coaching meeting, both schools have developed a very strong set of goals for their involvement in the POST Program.  Listed below are the goals for one of the POST schools, Cesar Chavez Middle School in Oceanside:

Goals for involvement in the POST Program

  • Umbrella for work this year:  Meet district goals (Essential Schools Plan)
  • Improving test scores, with focus on reading comprehension and Academic vocabulary
  • Enhance effectiveness of PLC
  • Build leadership and capacity

I am excited and energized to participate in the POST program and look forward to attending the coaches training and the special sessions provided for all the POST participants.  I am especially looking forward to working with two very talented and capable principals and their leadership team members.

Barbara Brooks, Ed.D,  POST coach
ELDA Principal's Forum
By Elizabeth Larkin
When ELDA Executive Director Melinda Martin sent me an e-mail last February asking if I was interested in joining a group of eight other ELDA alumni principals to be in a Forum and trained as a Forum moderator, I immediately said yes. I had only a vague idea of what Forum was, but I cannot say no to Melinda. And I am happy that I made that choice. I graduated from the ELDA program five years ago, and I realized that I missed the collegiality and support of my ELDA cohort. Forum has not only been a way for me to reconnect with ELDA, but it has provided me with a confidential, nonjudgmental community of friends to share and discuss the challenges and rewards of being a principal on both a personal and a professional level.

Our Forum has met monthly now for six months, after work at USD from 5:00 to 8:00. We put our day behind us, eat dinner together and then follow a protocol that allows us to support each other through a variety of exercises, discussions, and reflections. It took us a while, but the group recently created a mission statement that I think is the essence of who we are: "The ELDA Principals Forum's mission is to support and be supported on a whole-life level so that we may help ourselves and others live fulfilled lives."

Elizabeth Larkin, Principal San Diego Early Middle College
ELDA Year 2 - What have I learned?
By Dan Lang
D Lang
September is a watershed month for all of us in education.  Summer is officially over, school is back in full swing, and for those in ELDA, the beginning of the year also means meeting with our University Supervisor.  Sitting down recently with my own supervisor, Mary Gilliland, we tackled the question that I now ask my own students to reflect upon:  "What have I learned?"

Observing my mentor principal, Jonathon Ton, at Montgomery Middle School (in San Diego Unified) this past year, was quite frequently like standing beside a force of nature.  Quickly moving from one item to the next, I learned that an instructional leader must be very efficient.  In Jonathan's case, and more and more my own, that efficiency is the natural result of a clear vision with student learning at its core.  Given the daily demands of any school site, it is quite easy to be "busy."  However, if we are truly honest with ourselves and if we don't constantly keep in mind our leadership vision, we can find that we are busy for the wrong reasons.  Some leaders hurry around concerned with issues that center on a variety of things, rather than keeping the main thing the main thing - kids.  Now, keeping kids at the center of one's decision making may sound like a "no brainer," but practicing it with intentionality is quite an art form.  Planning the master schedule around teacher's strengths, and managing the budget workbook to keep class size down and preserve key members of the site team are just a few of the practical ways that a vision is lived.

In addition to the value of a clear vision, another major lesson from my apprenticeship is: you cannot do it alone.  While Jonathan is the instructional leader at Montgomery, he is the first to say, "a leader is only as good as the team assembled to share in the work."  Quite a variety of uses for the word "team" seem to pop up everywhere in a healthy school, and Montgomery is no exception.

As challenging and exciting as my apprenticeship was, the course work from my first year of ELDA studies laid the foundation to understanding the research behind much of what I was seeing in practice.  In one of those "ah-ha" moments while meeting with Mary, I began to see how the readings from the beginning of the year were being applied at Montgomery.  Jonathan is a leader who, to use a few of the article titles, "Turned the Organizational Pyramid Upside Down," communicates that "Failure is Not An Option," establishes a "Clear and Compelling Purpose," and has created a "Framework for Shared Leadership." 
At the end of my meeting with Mary, I was surprised that I could list so many things I had learned, and I'm grateful for the opportunities Jonathan provided for me to grow as leader.  While I am obviously impressed with Jonathon as a mentor principal, I am equally humbled by the quality of the teaching I have witnessed at my Montgomery Middle School, and overjoyed at the impact that training to be an instructional leader is having on the quality of my own practice in the here and now.

Finally, it is true that instructional leaders work hard, very hard, but from the outside looking in, it is all worth it.

Dan Lang, Teacher, Francis Parker Middle School, ELDA Aspiring Leaders Cohort 9
My ELDA Journey
By Sylvia Echeverria
There is a Chinese proverb that says, "He who travels without a destination arrives nowhere." I clearly remember the day that as a junior in high school I attended a leadership conference at the University of San Diego. I was overwhelmed with awe and excitement in the presence of so much talent in addition to the intense feeling of knowledge that exuded from the walls of such an honored institution. I knew then that someday I too wanted to be a part of this organization.  I kept my vision alive even when the possibility of attending was uncertain and bleak given my financial situation and immigration status. After overcoming significant challenges along the way, my vision of that destination became a reality.  I received both my Bachelor's and Master's degrees at USD and began a very rewarding teaching career. As I contemplated  earning my Preliminary Administrative Services Credential, I was drawn once again to the institution that empowered me with a high-quality education.  The Educational Leadership Development Academy set the foundation for another journey focused on making a difference for students and the community.

Through ELDA I solidified the value of keeping students in the forefront of any decision-making. One of the most beneficial aspects of the program is the forty-day internship alongside a principal in addition to the continuous support from a University supervisor. The relationship that I developed with both my principal and supervisor helped me become more confident in myself as an educational leader. The voice of Ann Van Sickle, my supervisor, telling me "What will children know and be able to do as a result of this lesson and what evidence do you have that they achieved it?" still resonates in my head as I collaborate with teachers and provide instructional support. As school leaders, our journey is about every child, every day and we must ensure that we take the necessary steps to arrive at that destination regardless of the roadblocks we face.

ELDA continuously encouraged us to develop and own our  "theory of action" in order to navigate through our responsibilities with certainty and conviction. It was always clear that our purpose was to be strong and knowledgeable instructional leaders. In addition, the relationships developed with our cohort colleagues were invaluable to the success of the program. Our cohort consisted of fourteen members and through  the two-year term we became friends and professional colleagues.  Throughout all our studies we were challenged to become passionate advocates for quality education. ELDA provided the tools necessary both in theory (coursework) and in practice (apprenticeship) in order to feel confident about the steps taken in our journey.

I am currently an Associate Principal at Salt Creek Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District and feel confident in the decisions I make every day in the best interest of students. ELDA gave me the opportunity to spread my wings and realize once more that having a vision in place will lead to attaining what sometimes seems impossible. As I drive up Interstate 5, I look up and see the beauty of USD and smile because it represents the key that has facilitated my quest to opening the doors for children's futures and guiding them to successful destinations.

Sylvia Echeverria Associate Principal, Salt Creek Elementary School
ELDA Ten-Year Blowout Celebration!!
We are planning a blowout celebration for ELDA's tenth anniversary in June 2010. Be on the lookout for more information on date/time and location.

School of Leadership and Education Sciences