Meet Superintendent Tony Giurado

Superintendent Tony GiuradoNew Tahoma Superintendent Tony Giurado has already begun climbing a steep learning curve as a newcomer to the area and as a first-time superintendent. Guiding him are a set of principles that he has developed during his 27-year education career: Put students first; listen to parents and the community; and honor educators. 

"I think the most important thing is that students are at the center of all that we do," he said. "That's at the core." He said it is apparent that Tahoma has high quality teachers, administrators and support staff who can meet students' needs. He wants to build on that success. 

Giurado, 53, leaves his native Colorado and his position as Chief Academic Officer of the Mesa County Valley School District in Grand Junction, Colo., to become Tahoma's superintendent on July 1, 2018 when current Superintendent Rob Morrow retires. 

The new superintendent brings an extensive administrative background to Tahoma, having worked in two large Colorado school districts in school and district leadership for 21 years. That experience will serve Tahoma well, he said. 

"I've thrived throughout my career working in high-achieving environments, whether as a teacher, as a principal or as a districtwide leader," he said. 

He started in education as a music teacher, after he decided that his dream of becoming a symphonic musician would not satisfy his desire to "do something that would make a difference." After a year at a prestigious music conservatory, where he attended on a full scholarship as a performance major, Giurado changed direction to focus on becoming an educator. He taught music for six years and then was recruited into administrative positions as an elementary school assistant principal and principal before moving into district-level leadership in the Jeffco and Mesa Valley school districts, where he supervised as many as 47 schools. Among his many responsibilities were implementing K-12 curriculum, monitoring school budgets, coaching and supervising school principals, assisting in School Board and community relations, and ensuring school safety. 

Giurado, his wife Rosanne, and son Vincent, 15, are looking forward to exploring their new home. The family enjoys outdoor activities that include hiking, cycling, kayaking, and golf. Giurado said he and his family have looked at moving to Washington for about five years, but Tahoma is the first school district that interested him enough to apply. 

"We dug in and I looked at schools, achievement data, read about the district and, of course as a family, we looked at the community, Maple Valley," he said. "everything about it just felt right."

As he studied Tahoma, Giurado said he found evidence of a school district that is forward-thinking and has high-performing schools. 

"I am really passionate about, and have spent a great deal of time, studying the future and what the future looks like in the workplace, in society and in education," he said. "The school district's forward thinking and commitment, to the Future Ready vision so that our students have 21st century skills and have a plan when they graduate, aligns well with my passion and my beliefs about education and what our students need," he said. 

He also applauds the district's commitment to environmental sustainability. "Our students understand the challenges around sustainability, environment and how we can work together to solve some of the challenges related to that to make sure our planet and our community have the resources they need to be sustainable for the long term," he said. 

Giurado credits strong leadership and commitment, beginning with the School Board, for Tahoma's traditions of excellence. "Having a good vision, a good plan, and having stability and leadership really is critical to accomplishing great things," he said. 

"The heart of success is when we ensure that every Tahoma student has a highly effective teacher who provides high quality instruction, cares about them, believes in them and inspires them to do more than they think is possible," he said. "And that every teacher be supported by a great visionary leader who collaboratively supports their teachers with resources, time for professional learning, and making sure the school can clearly focus on goals." 

As incoming superintendent, Giurado said he has provided the School Board with a preliminary transition plan but has not yet had the opportunity to discuss it in detail and work collaboratively to ensure that he and the Board have the same vision. In addition to establishing a good working relationship and communication with the Board, Giurado's plan includes community outreach, providing leadership and support to district administrators, learning how the district operates, and making sure the school year begins smoothly. 

Whether he is talking to community members, students or district staff, Giurado will frame his conversations around three main questions. 

"There are questions I'd like to ask when I have opportunities to engage all our stakeholders," he said. "What's working well? What's working but needs improvement? The third would be what's not working and should be discontinued. I'd like to do that and develop multiple engagement opportunities in the first three or four months." 

Answers to those questions will help shape changes and improvements that are focused on optimizing learning opportunities for students. 

"I have a big learning curve," he said. "I have a lot to learn from all of our students and staff, board of education, our administrators, parents and community." He is confident that together we can build upon our strengths and valued traditions to put each student on the path to lifelong personal success.

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