Glen Ishiwata brings his broad array of educational and life experiences to each of the challenges he faces. Having picked beans, delivered newspapers, and labored in fruit canneries in Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley during his youth, Glen learned the staunch work ethic that became a foundation for his career. After teaching for 24 years, he rose through the ranks: Assistant Principal (San Jose Unified School District), Principal (San Jose Unified School District), Director of Educational Services (Milpitas Unified School District), Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services (Milpitas Unified School District), Superintendent (Moreland School District).
While superintendent, Glen led Moreland School District through many challenges, but none was more significant than the work to deliver the kind of education due all students to those in the lowest performing elementary school in Santa Clara County. Glen’s leadership brought success and recognition to the district and its schools at all levels: local (Santa Clara County Office of Education), state (CA School Boards Association), and national recognition (National School Boards Association). An article in the New York Times documented and heralded the work done to turn around the lowest performing elementary school in Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley and to make it into a thriving school where staff was supported with professional development, materials, and time for collaboration; students achieved more than a year’s worth of growth; and parents and community members actively participated in school activities.
Glen taught high school courses in music and English for 24 years in San Jose Unified School District. He honed his skills in team building through his years teaching high school bands, coaching soccer teams, and working with student leadership and spirit squads. These experiences provided the base for his work as an administrator who built teams and relationships at schools and in the central/district offices. A board president wrote: “During the ten years that I have served on the Board, the relationship between the Department of Educational Services and our teaching staff is the strongest it has ever been as a direct result of Mr. Ishiwata’s leadership.”
Glen deftly facilitates groups and meetings to produce positive, successful results. He gets groups to focus on goals and seek mutual agreements. Using his facilitation skills, he has brought successful resolution of conflicts between a community and district, a school and district with its community, a district office with its principals and teachers.
Among his experiences, Glen conducted an Association of California School Administrators’ (ACSA) Superintendents Academy. He has taught Educational Leadership, as an adjunct, with Santa Clara University. He coaches superintendents, as well as central/district office and site administrators of all levels. Glen has been the Superintendent of the Year for ACSA Region 8 (Santa Clara County/Silicon Valley) and has been the California State recipient of the ACSA Robert E. Kelly award for volunteer work in education. One district had a motto that Glen embraced and continues to guide his work: Every student valued; Every student challenged; Every student successful.