- Los Angeles Unified School District
- Alum of the Month
Alum of the Month
Posted by MAURA CROSSIN on 6/9/2020
The "Alum of the Month" feature of LAASC web site showcases alumni who are doing interesting and exciting things, or who have made exceptional contributions to the District. Visit us soon to read about the next featured alumni of the month!
Gricelda Espinoza, Cohort #7
Assistant Principal, John C. Fremont High School
1. What was your favorite Induction Day activity, which was your most impactful LAASC learning, or what is your fondest memory of the LAASC Program?
The most impactful LAASC learning was our visit to the Museum of Tolerance. The tour of the museum ended with a Holocaust Survivor speaking to us. This plus the exercises we went through in connecting the event with the CPSELs brought light to the social justice and equity work that we do as educator and leaders. I will never forget that experience!
2. What was your first job with LAUSD, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
My first job with LAUSD was as a self-contained sixth-grade teacher at Charles Drew Middle School. I was fresh out of college, and to this day I still remember that class fondly.
They taught me many things. But the most valuable thing that I learned was that our students are resilient. They will always rise to the occasion, and go beyond our expectations when they have a safe environment in which to take learning risks, and have a teacher who cares about them and their successes.
3. What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in this area?
As an assistant principal of seven years, I would say I have a few specialties. Yet, I truly have a passion for building capacity within my staff and faculty. I do this by developing trusting relationships and supporting their self-efficacy through coaching conversations and mentoring. Sometimes our talented teachers and staff don’t always recognize their potential for leadership. I bring it to their attention and encourage them to continue growing.
Building capacity through leadership makes for stronger educators, which is what all of our students deserve!
4. What advice would you give LAASC Candidates?
Lean on your mentor and ask for help. The work of courageous leadership cannot happen in a vacuum. Your mentor will be there to lend you the support, and nudge you when it is time to keep growing.
They have much experience, knowledge, and the ganas to support you in becoming the best you! I remember having many a conversation with my mentor, Maria Sotomayor. She listened compassionately, and definitely nudged me forward, encouraging me to keep growing in the work. I am so glad I listened. 😊
5. In one word, how would you describe LAASC?
6. What do you love most about your job?
I love co-creating with teachers, parents, and colleagues for the educational benefit of our students! I love to co-create through developing programs and workshops, lesson planning, PDs, and co-teaching all for the edification of our students and school community.
7. What suggestions would you give current LAASC Candidates who wish to promote?
The work that we do is so important, because it is work from the heart. Love what you do and find the joy in the moments. When you are having a tough day in the office go into the classroom. The smiling faces of our students will always remind you why you are doing this work, and it will brighten up your day.
Be a life-long learner. Be willing to be vulnerable with your staff and faculty by growing your emotional intelligence. Then create the spaces for them to be vulnerable, because our students need teachers who can be present for them. Vulnerability as a leadership strength recognizes the humanity in everyone, and this is something that we all need most especially right now.