Educators of Impact | Donna Lewis

With the COVID-19 crisis making it abundantly clear the critical role that educators play in our society, Lurie College is recognizing SJSU Educators of Impact who have made a transformative difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.  Learn more about Goleta Union School District Superintendent Donna Lewis below.  To nominate an SJSU graduate who is an Educator of Impact, please complete this brief Google form.

SJSU Lurie College of Education Educator of Impact Dr. Donna Lewis

1. As an educator, what gives you the greatest sense of achievement?

As an educator of nearly 30 years and in my current role as Superintendent, my greatest sense of achievement comes from knowing we are working cohesively as a professional learning community to meet the needs of a diverse student population.  This takes creativity, collaboration, tenacity and a lot of hard work.  We hold high expectations for every student and make no excuses. As a result, our students are outperforming peers from similar school districts.  This is so highly rewarding.

2. What impact has your career had on you?

Public education is ever-evolving and fraught with challenges such as lack of funding, resources, and now distance learning as we cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Despite these challenges, or maybe because of them, I have learned to be patient, to be more empathetic, and to never give up — not on any student, family, colleague, or myself. I am definitely a better person for having served as an educator.

3. What advice would you give to a current or aspiring educator?

Being an educator is a calling. I gave up a career in finance to become a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students. My advice to any current or aspiring educator would be to push yourself out of your comfort zone.  When opportunity knocks be willing to be flexible and try something new.  Take leadership opportunities.  Get your master’s degree as soon as possible and consider a doctoral degree.  Challenge yourself and always be self-reflective.  Most of all, never forget you are a role model for others.  Respect and treasure the power that you have as an educator to influence the lives of so many.

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