ACSA’s 2021 Classified Leader of the Year Barbara Alejandre says she was often tasked with new endeavors at San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and needed to accelerate her learning and collaborate with others to accomplish goals.
Alejandre builds foundation for student success in San Bernardino
July 26, 2021
Name: Barbara Alejandre Award: Classified Leader of the Year Title: Chief Intergovernmental Relations Officer, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools ACSA highlights: Member since 2008
ACSA Administrators of the Year graphic.
During her 34 years with San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Barbara Alejandre focused on supporting students. Prior to her recent retirement, Alejandre led initiatives such as the CISCO Network Academy, Virtual High Tech High — which introduced online and virtual learning — and other technology partnerships.
Eight years ago, when she was assistant to the superintendent, Alejandre coordinated the SBCSS Strategic Plan, which guides the organization’s efforts to ensure student success and prioritize “transforming lives through education.”
“Barbara is a woman of vision and integrity,” said Richard De Nava, assistant superintendent of business services for SBCSS. “She is a self-motivated individual who has proven to be extremely capable in leading teams to exceed ambitious goals consistently.”
What’s your favorite book or quote on leadership? Of the many books on leadership that I hold in high regard, the one I would recommend as a must-read would be “Discover Your True North,” written by Bill George. This book resonates with me because I always endeavor to be myself in every situation and value the importance of leading with authenticity.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? Among the most influential leaders and trusted mentors in my life is a former county superintendent of schools, Dr. Herb Fischer. He would often invoke the powerful phrase “we stand on the shoulders of giants” to remind us that leaders don’t get to where they are alone. Accomplishing our greatest feats requires teamwork and acknowledging the support of those who made contributions along the way.
What’s your best strategy for work/life balance? I must confess — I continually strived to attain this elusive balance. As a family, we dedicated ourselves to several philanthropic organizations and participated in events together I otherwise would have attended alone. It was beneficial for my children to give back to their community and gain their own leadership skills while also allowing quality time for us to spend together as a family. What are some life hacks that you would recommend for a new administrator? One big thing that oftentimes saved my sanity was a monthly dinner with my BFF administrative-level colleagues from various organizations. Having time to meet with them, laugh, cry, and support each other was priceless! What would people be surprised to learn about you? I do feel I am virtually an open book with no surprises to reveal. However, those outside of my immediate circle may not know I do not always feel as confident as I may outwardly appear. I am grateful to those colleagues who I would never have guessed wrestled with nerves, too, who shared with me their own insecurities. I believe acknowledging this can make us even stronger leaders. What made you want to become a school administrator? I have always had an insatiable need to learn everything possible about whatever the work was before me, and I have been driven to leadership roles because my purpose in life has always been to help others. This, coupled with my passion for serving children, set the stage for everything I accomplished throughout my career. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome to get where you are? Some of the biggest projects and challenges given to me were brand new endeavors to the county office, but very important to the superintendents I have served. Usually, I didn’t have the experiences associated with completing these priorities, but knew that I was counted on to be successful with them. So, I had to really accelerate my understanding, collaborate with many different individuals, and stay focused on the purpose/goal. Key, however, was establishing a team approach, based on genuine collaboration and authentic, intrinsic mindset and approach. How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position? ACSA has provided a wealth of networking opportunities and trusted resources that have been crucial to the success of my career. In fact, I discovered the Cambridge Strategic Planning Model utilized in 2010 to kick off our strategic planning process, thanks to ACSA! What has the impact of the COVID-19 worldwide health crisis taught you? At the onset of the pandemic, it was truly inspirational to see the collective impact mindset of our partners and the impetus of our strategic plan and countywide vision.
In these moments of crisis, we were forced to focus only on what was essential and abandon what was not. Upon reflection, I believe we should not lose sight of the need to examine what is working and continually rethink what is not.
ACSA’s 2021 Classified Leader of the Year Barbara Alejandre.
ACSA’s 2021 Classified Leader of the Year Barbara Alejandre.
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