Principal of the Year
Vista Verde Middle School
Val Verde Unified School District
Launching a sustainable organic farm, creating a STEAM Program that is deeply driven into all areas of the school, and serving on the district’s classified negotiation team are just a few ways that Esperanza Arce’s expertise leads to success for students and staff alike. Through early career roles as an English language development teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal, Esperanza Arce built a professional foundation that would one day prepare her to transform a school into what has been described as “a living model for successful educational reform.” Before they leave for high school, all Vista Verde Middle School students take a college awareness assessment and are well-versed at the concepts of A-G completion, SAT, and FAFSA. Leading a mindset shift from teacher-focused instruction to student-centered learning has resulted in many recognitions for Vista Verde Middle School—including a designation as a National AVID Demonstration School that is bestowed on only 147 schools in the world—1% of all schools.