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A note from Superintendent Bassanelli: Fostering leadership at all levels

Good morning,

Developing and fostering leadership skills for San Juan Unified students, families and employees is critical to strengthening our district and setting up students for success after graduation. This month, I wanted to share with you a few examples of how San Juan Unified has been supporting our students, families and staff to grow and build their skill sets.

Over the years, our district has expanded student leadership groups across our school sites, including Black Visionaries in Leadership, PRIDE PAK and the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SSAC). These groups provide students an opportunity to share their voices, learn critical leadership skills and work on developing solutions for issues they identify. For example, SSAC has tackled issues such as mental wellness, helping students find their trusted adult on their school campus, enhancing student communication channels and is currently focused on updating the district’s student dress code. It’s inspiring to see our student leaders advocate for themselves and their peers. 

Our Family and Community Engagement team leads a Family Leadership Academy each year in multiple languages. The six-week series empowers families to gain a greater understanding of our educational system, current district initiatives and parent leadership opportunities. Past participants in this academy have gone on to participate in district committees, serve on their school site council and overall take a more active role in being partners in education. 

This year, we launched the Cultivating Leaders program for staff, in partnership with the San Juan Teachers Association and San Juan Professional Educators Coalition. The program focuses on building the skills of our leaders, from teacher leaders at schools, to teachers aspiring to become administrators, to new vice principals and principals in our district. The program consists of monthly seminars and participants work directly with a mentor. We are excited to be able to expand this program and support the growth of leaders in our own system.  

I also wanted to share with you my own personal leadership growth experience that has led me to the role I am in today. I encourage you to take a look at this video the team put together of my recent visit to Thomas Kelly Elementary (where I was formerly a principal) and hope that you take some time to reflect on your own goals and potential areas for growth. San Juan Unified is here to support our staff, students and families in any way possible. 

I hope you have an enjoyable and relaxing Presidents' Week break!

In community,

Melissa Bassanelli