Pupil Personnel Administrator of the Year

Sept. 12, 2017

ACSA is honoring this year’s Administrator of the Year Award recipients, and each is being profiled in EdCal leading up to the formal awards gala at the 2017 Leadership Summit in San Jose.


Promoting student success through support: Josie Paredes, Director of Student Services, Covina-Valley USD

“Whatever it takes” is a theme that followed Josie Paredes into school administration. Her dream was to be a teacher and volleyball coach forever, but then she started helping out a high school Associated Student Body director with activities and became one of those teachers you could call anytime to cover a dance, athletics, help set up student leadership events – you name it, she did it.

“I truly enjoyed working with the students and helping them become leaders of the school,” Paredes said. “At that point, I began the desire to become an administrator.”

From middle school assistant principal and principal to high school principal and now director of student services for Covina-Valley USD, Paredes has become known as a positive agent for change, who leads with passion and integrity.

“What inspires me the most in my work is when I can empower others to work together to improve our schools, our classrooms and our student learning,” said ACSA’s 2017 Pupil Personnel Administrator of the Year.

Paredes established a Special Education Task Force to ensure the district is providing the utmost support for students and teachers facing the challenges and diverse needs of special needs students. She has guided teachers to increase their capacity to respond to varying learning styles and abilities.

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She promotes success by supporting involvement by students, teachers and families and has created and maintains a culture in which all students can feel a sense of identity, belonging and place.

Among her efforts are providing release time for teacher collaboration; inviting parents to serve on leadership teams, advisory committees and other volunteer bodies; and developing one-on-one relationships with students by staying visible on campuses throughout the district.

She implemented a comprehensive mental health program, using marriage and family therapist interns. Partnerships she’s built with the local community service organizations help provide clothing, backpacks, school supplies and tutoring, along with food and gift certificates to families in need.

Paredes has been successful in implementing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) throughout the district, and has worked with Child Welfare and Attendance to expand and improve the award-winning “I’m In!” effort to build positive attendance practices.

She was instrumental in another program celebrating local law enforcement officers that brings them to campus for “Pizza with Police Officers” events, helping them build relationships with students and the community.

“She is uncompromising in her quest for quality educational opportunities for all students,” said Elizabeth Emenhizer, assistant superintendent, educational services. “She has a passion for helping students succeed socially, emotionally and academically, especially those who arrive at school without solid support systems in place.”

Paredes is particularly proud of the Advancement Via Individual Determination program she started at Las Palmas Middle School as principal about 10 years ago.

“I planted the seed, and the most amazing staff took the challenge and flew with it,” she said. “The school now has such a powerful community of learners among the students and more specifically among the teachers.

“After I left the school, my assistant principal, Nicole Costigan, who is now the principal, promised me that she would continue the AVID community and one day make Las Palmas an AVID Demo School. Our dream came true at the end of last year. I was so excited for the community.”

As an ACSA member for more than 15 years, Parades has enjoyed the career-building benefits. She has been involved in leadership with the Covina-Valley Administrator Association ACSA charter as well as Region 15.

“The trainings have helped me in every one of my positions,” she said. “In my current position, I have found the Every Child Counts Symposium the most helpful and have had the opportunity to exchange information with other directors.”

One of the hallmarks of great leadership is seeking inspiration from others. For Parades, that inspiration has come from Covina-Valley Superintendent Richard Sheehan and the district’s extended cabinet.

“Dr. Sheehan has empowered us as leaders and provided us with the tools to make great things happen,” she said. “I love working for Covina-Valley Unified School District and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. We make it possible for students!”


All ACSA Administrators of the Year will be honored at the President’s Gala and Awards Celebration during Leadership Summit in San Jose, Nov. 3. To register, go to www.acsa.org/leadershipsummit.

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