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Leading for Equity: Intentionality for Access and Opportunity

Thursday, November 5, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST

Leading for Equity

Presented by Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Superintendent, Edmonds School District (WA), and Dr. Heath Morrison, Superintendent, Montgomery Independent School District (TX)
Moderated by Dr. Valerie Truesdale, Assistant Executive Director, AASA, The School Superintendents Association

Hosted by AASA, The Superintendents Association 
AASA’s Leadership Network, providing premier professional learning for educational leaders

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Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

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Watch Dr. Gustavo Balderas, Superintendent of Edmonds School District (Edmonds, Washington) and Dr. Heath Morrison, Superintendent of Montgomery Independent School District (Montgomery, Texas) as they discuss the importance of equity for opportunity. Both leaders share stories and explain how districts they have served recognize the potential of each student with a focus on intellectual, social, cultural and physical aspects of learning. Each nationally recognized school leader will share policies, practices, and protocols that promote equitable access to opportunity for student success.

Essential questions include:

  • How can school districts remove barriers to success and give equitable access to learning opportunities with intentionality?
  • What role does self-awareness have in leading with an equity agenda and disrupting the traditional systems?
  • How does a strong community engage families and staff to cultivate learning of all students?
  • What role do data, budgets, and resourcing have in leading an equity agenda-focused district?
  • How can district leaders promote systemic change and create successful outcomes for every student?
  • What are the incremental actions for which educational leaders can advocate that will TRULY make a difference?

Viewers will learn about strategies to address systemic disparities and inequities in order to benefit all students.


Gustavo BalderasAbout the Presenters

Dr. Gustavo Balderas began his life as the child of migrant farm workers in Eastern Oregon and developed his love of learning and passion for education in Oregon Public Schools, from kindergarten through his doctoral degree in educational leadership at the University of Oregon.

Dr. Balderas has been an educator for 30 years. He started his career in education as a high school teacher and counselor in the Hillsboro School District after teaching briefly in Texas. He moved on to elementary and middle school administrative roles and then served as an area director overseeing a cluster of K-12 schools and coordinating district curriculum, as well as serving as an assistant superintendent of support services, also all in the Hillsboro School District. He served as superintendent in California and Oregon prior to beginning his tenure.

His career highlights include improving equity and culture proficiency in the state’s K-12 instruction through the Oregon Leadership Network and the Oregon State Action for Educational Leadership Project, and developing equal access and opportunity to instruction and equity systems around student behavior and hiring practices in the districts where he has worked. Dr. Balderas was appointed to serve on the Oregon State Board of Education in 2018.

Being engaged with the community is important to Dr. Balderas, and he has served on several local and state educational and civic boards to develop and grow community partnerships. In addition to serving on the Oregon State Board of Education, he was a board member of the Oregon Department of Education English Learner Advisory Group, Connected Lane County and Early Learning Alliance. Dr. Balderas is also a volunteer consulting superintendent for the Educational Research and Development Institute and the Suburban School Superintendents national organizations. He is a founding member and past president of the Oregon Association of Latino Administrators. He currently serves as NW regional representatives and treasurer for the national Association of Latino Administrators Superintendents.

Dr. Balderas was named the Oregon Distinguished Latinx Educator of the Year, The Oregon Superintendent of the Year, and the AASA National Superintendent of the Year.


Heath Morrison

At each stage of his career, Dr. Heath Morrison has been described as a teacher on special assignment. Dr. Morrison began as a social studies teacher in Virginia and Maryland and quickly moved into administration. After serving as principal at the middle school and high school levels, Dr. Morrison was selected as Maryland Principal of the Year in 2004.

He went on to serve as a Community Superintendent in Montgomery County, Maryland, before being selected to serve as Superintendent of Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. He has most recently served as Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2011, Dr. Morrison was named Nevada Superintendent of the Year, and in 2012, he became AASA’s National Superintendent of the Year.

Under his leadership, all school districts saw rapid gains in state test scores, graduation rates, and participation and performance in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses. He has led efforts to promote personalized plans of instruction for every student and utilize technologies to inspire innovative teaching and learning. At the local, state and national level, he has actively championed the importance of teachers and principals.

For the last several years, Dr. Morrison has served in the private sector, first as the Senior Vice-President of Government Affairs at McGraw- Hill Education, before his promotion to President of the School Group. In July of this year, he was selected as the superintendent of Montgomery ISD in Texas. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Planning and a Masters in Educational Administration from the University of Maryland. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary. Dr. Morrison is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and serves on the College of William and Mary Development Board.

Family is foremost to Dr. Morrison. He married his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, and they have two children, Samantha and Zachary, and a foster daughter, NaShara.


Valerie TruesdaleAbout the Host

Dr. Valerie Truesdale joined AASA early in 2019 as the assistant executive director responsible for guiding leadership development services and programs. With years of experience in the superintendency and roles in instructional technology, she knows that AASA’s Leadership Network can be a substantial resource for school leaders trying to keep pace with the rapidly changing delivery of K-12 education.


Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation.

Join the Leading for Equity community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.


The AASA Leadership Network drives superintendent success, innovation and growth, shaping the future of public education while preparing students for what’s next. We are the largest, most diverse network of superintendents in America. Passionate and committed, we connect educational leaders to the professional learning, leadership development, relationships and partnerships they need to ensure a long career of impact.



Thursday, November 5, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST
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