New curriculum, instruction directors welcomed to the Seguin ISD
Posted on 8/10/2017 12:30:00 PM.
(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD is putting the finishing touches on its administrative team -- a team that is being designed to help all students be successful.

The Seguin ISD is welcoming three new members to its administrative team. The positions will help lead the district's curriculum and instruction department. The positions are being reclassified or added under the leadership of new Superintendent Matthew Gutierrez.

Assuming the role as director of elementary and multilingual education is Dr. Venus Valenta. Valenta, who has her doctorate degree from UTSA in educational leadership and policy studies and who also currently maintains her superintendent certificate, says she is ready to utilize the district's strengths in order to combat it weaknesses.

"I am coming from the San Antonio Independent School District so large inner city school district and I've been a principal for eight and a half years at three different elementary campuses. So I'm looking forward to the opportunity to continue the work that is being done here in Seguin. The sky is the limit. I am ready to work, ready to roll up my sleeves. Initially, one of the patterns that I see with the data is looking at the writing framework and seeing what type of resources, what type of professional development -- I see that as an area to grow and then some of the strengths, we have your writing, we have your reading that right there are on the cusp and I just know that as we together as a team collaboratively, we're going to make sure that we increase the success rates of our students and campuses as a whole," said Valenta.

Also coming to the Seguin ISD is Danica Murillo, who has been hired as the director of professional learning. Murillo, who has served as the secondary campus ELA/Reading coordinator for the Northside ISD, says she is excited to roll up her sleeves and get to work with local teachers.

"I've been in education for 14 years, all of them at Northside (ISD). I've reached a point, where I felt I wanted a challenge. I needed a challenge. I've heard great things about Seguin. I'm looking forward to helping the teachers here continue to home their craft, continue to learn strategies that will help them in the classroom. I think that having been in the classroom for 14 years and really working with teachers and as an instructional coach on my campus gives me a sense of what teachers are really wanting to be able to take into the classroom. I'm hoping that I can go out there and find that for them or develop that for them," said Murillo.

A familiar face in the Seguin ISD has also been approved for the reclassification of the new director of secondary and advanced education position. Allison Pape, who is equipped with 13 years under her belt, says she is ready to take on the new role in the Seguin ISD.

"Before tonight, I was secondary education coordinator so supporting both our middle schools and our high school with curriculum and instruction. So tonight in that director role, I will be able to continue that work which is very, very exciting to keep that work up and then also adding in the advanced education components. So that'll be something we'll be taking a look at the gifted and talented programming k-12 and looking for our secondary campuses at our advanced placement opportunities, SAT, ACT -- just making sure that those opportunities are continuing for our students," said Pape.

The district's administrative team, however, will remain incomplete until hopefully next week when the school district can officially approve its new assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. Dr. Gutierrez says the district is hopeful to welcome the new candidate as soon as possible.

"At this point, we've interviewed a candidate and selected a candidate to assume that position. We fully intend on bringing her name back. Unfortunately, she couldn't be here this evening for some other unforeseen circumstances. So hopefully, things work out. Sometimes things happen with family and family is priority. Should the news not to be positive then we will have to reconsider how we are going to fill that position. But we're going to remain hopeful and keep the faith that our candidate will be on board with this, hopefully next week," said Dr. Gutierrez.

Dr. Gutierrez says he believes each of the positions are vital to the future success of the district.

"What I want the Seguin ISD community to know is that we were very strategic in how we identified not only these individuals to assume these leadership positions, but also how this specific job title and position was going to meet the needs of our kids. As many of our community members know, we do have some challenges when it comes to our ESL and bilingual students. When it comes to advanced academics, when it comes to professional learning -- when you're a district this size and you have many different initiatives in place, you typically have someone who can facilitate the learning and we don't have that. Right now, there's a strong need and I think the data supports that need for us to have someone who can facilitate the learning for meeting those needs of our economically disadvantaged kids, our ESL students, our gifted and talented students. So we're really looking forward to that. But in addition to the professional learning, I feel like we also need to invest in leadership development to build leadership capacity within our campus leaders. So our hope is that with this new position, we can begin to invest in building leaders right away," said Dr. Gutierrez.

Dr. Gutierrez says the first plan of action for district leaders will be during the first leadership meeting with principals on Aug. 30.




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