Meet SVUSD's Interim Superintendent Esmeralda Mondragón & Bilingual Family Tech Support Specialist Heather Harrison
Dr. Esmeralda Mondragón, interim superintendent for SVUSD
We recently caught up with Dr. Esmeralda Mondragón, interim superintendent for Sonoma Valley Unified School District. She brings a wealth of experience to this role, which she will hold through June 2021 while the district completes the search process for a new superintendent.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to fill the interim position?
A: I retired as superintendent of the Calistoga School District in 2017. Since then, I have been consulting with districts in Sonoma County, coaching and mentoring new administrators and supporting district staff in the completion of specific projects.
Q: What are your major tasks as interim superintendent?
A: My responsibilities include overseeing all aspects of the functions and operations of the school district–the same tasks that are expected of the sitting superintendent. I am particularly passionate about focusing on decisions that are in the best interest of students, as well as understanding and valuing who our students are and what they bring to us when they step into our schools.
Q: What are you most optimistic about for our students?
A: Our students live in a disruptive and rapidly changing world! The pandemic disrupted the traditional classroom setting and pushed students to engage and learn in new and different ways. For example, they are learning time management and becoming independent learners. I believe that this is an opportunity to break down the classroom walls and provide more choices for our students to learn from anywhere and at any time.
Q: How do you stay positive during these challenging times?
A: I am optimistic and have faith that the pandemic too shall pass! I strongly believe that each child/student has the potential to succeed. Working on their behalf brings out the best in all of us.
Q: Do you have a message you would like to give our community?
A: I thank the community partners for their commitment and generosity to the children and youth attending our schools. They are the future of tomorrow so we must support them in their journey to adulthood. We are grateful for your support.
Heather Harrison, Bilingual Family Tech Support Specialist at SVUSD
Thanks to a generous grant from the Sonoma Valley Catalyst Fund, we have been able to help the school district provide a family technology support helpline so families can receive personalized assistance with their Chromebooks, hotspots, and more. We spoke with Heather Harrison, the new bilingual technician, about how this program is making an impact.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your history with the school district.
A: I moved to Sonoma at a young age, and attended El Verano, Altimira, and SVHS. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, I studied and lived in Chile for three years. Later I received my bilingual teacher’s credential from SSU.
I first started working for SVUSD in 2015, first as an instructional assistant, and later as a library media specialist. The new family technical support position is a perfect opportunity for me to continue supporting students and families during distance learning and beyond.
Q: What are some of the ways you've helped students already?
A: I help students understand it is normal to feel frustrated and upset when experiencing technical problems with their devices. I also give them simple steps to resolve some technical problems on their own, which gives students a sense of empowerment and independence.
Q: What do you hope to do for/with students in this role?
A: Technology is ever changing and there is always something new to learn everyday. My hope is to help students and families build confidence and give them tools they can use when common technical issues arise.
Q: How can parents and students contact you if they need help?
A: Please call our hotline at (707) 385-9408, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.