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Dianna Marsh, right, recently retired and says she is proudest of the accomplishments of her students.
Marsh has helped students succeed for three decades
August 8, 2022
ACSA Administrators of the Year graphic.
Name: Dianna Marsh Award: Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year Title: Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, Madera County Superintendent of Schools ACSA highlights: Member since 1998; Region 9 President (2007-08); Region 9 representative for Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment Council and the Legislative Policy Council; Mariposa-Madera Charter President (2001-05).
As a new retiree, Dianna Marsh can look back on more than three decades as an educator and know that she truly made a difference to the students and communities she served.
In her most recent role as assistant superintendent of Educational Services in Madera County Superintendent of Schools, she provided leadership and oversight in district LCAPs, Differentiated Assistance, the Early Education Center, social-emotional learning, and professional development for staff, to name just a few.
Her work has focused on assessment and accountability, improving culture and instructional programs in districts throughout the county through data analysis, coaching, collaboration and ongoing support. In addition to her long career as a teacher, principal and central office administrator, Marsh has served her community on the Madera Arts Council and the California League of Schools, along with leadership roles in ACSA.
“Her entire career has been about giving her best so that others can succeed, and that excellent programs are for all children, no matter the size of the district or the resources available,” according to Madera County Superintendent of Schools Cecilia Massetti. “Dianna is a problem solver, a solution seeker, a change agent and a visionary who sees possibilities not obstacles.”
What’s your favorite book or quote on leadership? My favorite quote on leadership is credited to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. She says, “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” I have strived to help my staff develop or to continue to develop as leaders, and I have seen them grow in their abilities and confidence.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given? Don’t go into a new role or position with blinders on. Your first administrative job may lead to other career opportunities that aren’t part of your current position.
What’s your best strategy for work/life balance?
Administration is not an 8-5 job! One has to make the time for family and friends, or it won’t happen. I work to set aside time each week to spend with my husband, my adult son and my friends. Without their support, I would not be able to do what I do. As I look to retirement, I know I owe my family a lot of missed time and I plan to make that up to them!
What are some life hacks that you would recommend for a new administrator? Take time for yourself during your day, even if it means sitting in your office with the door closed for 15 minutes so you can eat a sandwich, take a walk on campus or off, or just have a time out. If you burn yourself out, you cannot be there to help others be their best selves. This also sets an example for your staff members, especially the new ones, who will chain themselves to desks thinking they have to work night and day to keep up.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I’m proudest of the career that I have had when I run into my former students and their families. I have students who are teachers, nurses, moms, dads, police officers, firemen and even school administrators!
How has ACSA supported you in your career/current position? ACSA has supported me with trainings, academies, but most importantly, I have been supported by colleagues and mentors through ACSA. The camaraderie with regional board members, charter members and staff are supports that I still have with me today. The making of friends that I wouldn’t have known except through ACSA — those friendships are the part of ACSA that I have enjoyed the most and the memory of those I will take into retirement with me.
2022 Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year Dianna Marsh.