A Message From Dr. Kishimoto

Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto is the founder of Voice4Equity LLC and a Clinical Professor at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.

Welcome to July! It is hard to believe the 2024 school year is over for most of us, with approximately 3.8 million* students newly graduated from our nation’s high schools, on their way to college, the military, and the workforce. And after all of this work as educators, as we are trying to squeeze in a much needed vacation before the next new school year begins, let’s all take a moment to stand in awe of the educators who support our public education system! Applaud yourself, one another, and the equity mission that serves as our north star! You are amazing!

July is a time when the greatest number of superintendent changes occur in this country. In this newsletter, you will meet one of our new leaders in San Diego County. Like so many women taking the executive seat these days, she is the first woman to serve in this role in the 75-year history of the San Diego County Office of Education. Dr. Gloria Ciriza’s story will motivate you, and I encourage you to pour a cup of coffee or tea and take the time to listen to her words. We have so many stories that we must tell because our stories bring perspective, create connections, reinforce hope, and elevate joy! You are the stories that we must tell! 

In addition to Dr. Ciriza, I also want to highlight two other women who represent “firsts” including Dr. Sonia Dinnall, incoming Superintendent for the Springfield Public Schools in Massachusetts, and Dr. Kimberlee Armstrong, incoming Superintendent for the Portland Public Schools in Oregon, both will be the first Black women to serve in these seats. There are so many other new superintendents to give a shout-out to, and collectively, we applaud them, thank them, and receive them ♥️.

I want to thank the 200 women leaders who took over the Vancouver, Washington Waterfront two weeks ago for an incredible time of learning together. If you were not able to be with us, please note two upcoming events: January 23-25, 2025, will be the Tech, Power and Equity workshop-style conference where we will be engaging in a by-women, for-women AI-focused learning space to grow our technology skills and prepare to lead in the innovation workforce. We also have the When Women Lead ‘25 conference scheduled for June 23-25, 2025, in Charleston, South Carolina, in the historic Mills House! Our summer conference will continue to focus on policy and leadership. Registration for January’s convening will open in a few short weeks – look out for the invitation! 

Finally, I want to encourage you to join a growing number of our WSPLA graduates! The Women Superintendents’ Policy Leadership Academy is for women in the superintendent seat, at the Cabinet level, or aspiring to executive leadership. This ten-hour policy training program is a targeted lesson study on grounding our policy work within a culturally responsive policy ecosystem framework. You will gain skills in policy development and develop lifelong friendships with other women nationally. Applications are now open for this blended instructional delivery program, which begins on September 9th. 

As active members of our network say, join us under the Flamboyan tree for a community of thought leaders who learn together, uplift each other, and celebrate the vast diversity that women represent in leadership. Be a voice for equity!



*National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=805