New Year, New Faces: Meet Three New School Leaders Excited For Their New Roles

school leaders

As the school year approaches, Green Dot Public Schools proudly welcomes new school leaders to our growing community as they prepare to roll up their sleeves and get to work in schools across California, Washington, and Tennessee. These leaders will drive the direction of our schools, embody our mission to serve all students, and inspire their teachers, families and communities to commit to excellence in public education.

With the opening of three new schools, and addition of one existing school to our network, Green Dot now serves nearly 16,000 students, taught by over 1,100 inspiring educators and staff. Last school year, Green Dot graduated more than 1,700 students, and nine of Green Dot’s high schools ranked among the best nationwide, according to U.S News.

As Green Dot serves more students, our team of passionate leaders delivering high quality public education to all students in every zip code grows. Our school leadership team now includes nine new principals and seven assistant principals, reflecting the robust leadership development and coaching practices in place to help grow our talent. We never stop searching for talented educators to join us in our work, and we continue to develop both our school leader training program as well as our accelerated teaching credential program in California.

Walter Chen, Rainier Valley Leadership Academy

school leaders

Walter Chen will lead Green Dot’s new Washington school, Rainier Valley Leadership Academy. Chen’s Community Advisory Committee helped him get to know the needs of local families and to create an inviting school environment where all students feel welcome.

“I’m a resident of southeast Seattle and I’ve spent time working in neighborhood schools. I can inform our staff about what matters to our community and the students we serve, and to be aware of the area’s racial history and that of greater Seattle. At the same time, our incredible team is joining us with a diverse range of experiences and so much to contribute to our school. I want to channel my experience in school leadership to bring the most out of every individual and provide the best possible education for our students.”

Jonas G. Cleaves, Bluff City High School

In Tennessee, Jonas G. Cleaves is the new principal of Bluff City High School and he is thrilled at the opportunity to build on his experience in education access and community engagement. He hopes his collaborative approach will lead to more dynamic partnerships so that his students and families are more effectively served.

"I’ve never seen a successful school leader prosper with an ‘Island’ mentality. Successful school leaders pursue best practices and seek opportunities to collaborate in the interest of their students. I don’t have all the answers but my ‘Peninsula’ approach will help me stay connected to our stakeholders and an ever-evolving education world, while enhancing our practices at Bluff City. The community wants and expects something greater for their children, and it’s humbling to know they believe Green Dot and our team at Bluff City can make it happen. I don’t intend on letting them down."

school leaders

Yuliya Eisenberg, Ánimo City of Champions

school leaders

Yuliya Eisenberg, principal at the new Ánimo City of Champions Charter High School in Inglewood, has witnessed Green Dot’s impact first-hand over the years. Having previously served as Assistant Principal at Green Dot’s Locke College Preparatory Academy in Los Angeles, she sees the value in growing leadership opportunities for Green Dot educators as we serve a larger body of students.

"The number one reason I continue to work with Green Dot is the organization’s unrelenting commitment to student-centered decision making. As we continue to grow to full capacity in the next four years, I am looking forward to contributing to a school environment respectful of teacher and student voice in order to facilitate the sharing of best practices through a reflective culture of learning. Additionally, we are looking forward to establishing a culture of consistent opportunity for family engagement in forming the identity of the school and contributing to the evolution of our understanding in how to best serve the community. I am committed to creating a school environment which I have been very fortunate to experience while working with Green Dot, a center of the community where faculty and families are genuinely excited to come every morning."

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