AASSA’s Mission, Vision, and Values
Mission: AASSA’s mission is to provide and promote programs and services to member schools whose primary language of instruction is English in order to enhance the quality of American and international education in the Americas.
Vision: AASSA is a financially healthy, vibrant, membership-driven organization with visionary leadership providing cutting edge, relevant programs and timely, cost-effective services.
Values: As an organization, AASSA believes:
Professional development and collaboration lead to improved student learning.
Research and risk-taking promote innovative teaching and learning.
Effective governance includes a balance of fiduciary, strategic and generative best practices.
All stakeholders are entitled to a safe learning and working environment.
School operations are enhanced through quality support services.
My beliefs and abilities match well with the AASSA Mission, Vision, and Values.
Why Dereck Rhoads
I worked in Brazil and Mexico, serving both as a teacher and principal in the AASSA region. I recruited teachers, developed and hosted regional professional development events, and presented at the AASSA annual conference. My wife and I moved to Brasilia, Brazil in 1998. We fell in love with the country and decided to start our family in Brazil. Both our daughters were born in Brasilia, Brazil, therefore expediting my ability to secure a Brazilian visa. After seven wonderful years in Brazil, we moved to Monterrey, Mexico. I did my doctoral dissertation with ASOMEX schools. I have provided training and taught graduate courses for several years in the region. I have extensive experience with school improvement and AdvancED accreditation in the AASSA region. These are just a few of the experiences that have prepared me well to lead AASSA forward in terms of my knowledge and love of the region. Next, I would like to highlight my current experience providing leadership for 22,000 students served by 32 schools.
2010 – present: Chief Instructional Officer (2012-present) and Principal (2010-2012), Beaufort County School District, South Carolina, USA. 22,000+ students, 32 schools. As Principal, led the opening of a new public middle school of 1000+ students. Received awards for Closing the Achievement Gap, Overall Student Achievement and the SC EdTech Technology Innovation Award. During my leadership student achievement has reached all time highs; including our highest AP, IB, SAT, ACT, Graduation Rates and State Report Card ratings in district history as well as renewed accreditation and IB authorization.
People often ask me how we have accomplished the gains we have made in Beaufort County. The answer is that we have applied the research regarding effective programs and approaches, we have built a culture of collaboration and teamwork, and most importantly, we have shifted from teacher-centered to student-centered teaching and learning so that students have increased opportunities to engage in problem solving and to use and apply their learning.
I say, “we” because while I directly led the work, it was my ability to engage others in team-based approaches and build a laser-like vision working together that made it possible. In addition, as a leader I understand the importance of celebrating the achievements of my team, and I understand that I cannot accomplish anything of significance alone. So, you will here me say “we” often.
The effective educational approaches I currently lead match the work I led in Brazil and Mexico, albeit it on a smaller scale, before my current work in the US. However, my US experience has provided me with easy access to rich, current professional development regarding best and effective practices. I have utilized my current opportunities and resources and applied learning from my time overseas to successfully lead increased student achievement and organizational effectiveness.
Leading 32 schools with a variety of needs and differences is not an easy task. However, I have successfully led innovative practices in a US public school system. US systems can typically be slower to move than American International schools due to the inherently different bureaucracy and legislative oversight. Therefore, considering my current context the gains we have made in a relatively short amount of time are even more impressive.
I look forward to discussing these topics during my presentation on Innovation in Education. However for now, please allow me to provide the following information to you as you further consider my leadership strengths and match for the AASSA Executive Director position.
2005-2010: Middle School Principal, American School Foundation of Monterrey, Mexico. An American/International day school of 2400+ students, PreK-12. Recruited International teaching staff K-12 and led all aspects of the middle school program including: curriculum, instruction, assessment, student services, budget, facilities, professional development, and home-school communication.
1998-2005: Secondary Principal (4yrs ’01-‘05); Teacher (3yrs ’98-’01), American School of Brasilia, Brazil. K-12 school, 550+ students. As principal, recruited International teaching staff K-12, responsible for all aspects of the grade 6-12 educational program; taught middle school mathematics on five-teacher team within a block schedule, and team planned interdisciplinary units of study. Head boys’ basketball coach.
1994-1998 Teacher, Palo Verde Christian School, Tucson, Arizona. High school and middle school mathematics, science, and physical education; Head boys’ and girls’ basketball coach.
Additional Related Experience
2014-present: Consultant with Education Research & Development Institute (ERDI).
2014-present: Editorial Review Board Member with the Association of American School Administrators (AASA) Journal of Scholarship & Practice.
2009-present: Adjunct Professor, Framingham State University, USA. Graduate Program for International Educators, Course Taught: Advanced Teaching Strategies; Curriculum Theory and Practice; Research and Evaluation.
1995-1998: Director, Crusader Basketball Camps and Clinics, USA. Staff of 8, 1000+ students. Speaker at American Basketball Academy, Head coach USA West All-Star teams in international basketball tournaments in Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland.
My Ability to Lead
Everyone is motivated by something. Some driving force or “right button” sparks action in us all. For me, that driving force is a belief in the power of schools to positively impact the lives of children.
My Personal Information
My wife, Alisa, and I are blessed with two wonderful daughters, Lizzie and Emma. Lizzie is in 11th grade this year, and Emma is in 9th grade. Our daughters were both born in Brasilia, Brazil and thus have dual citizenship. As well as both being excellent students, they are respectful, responsible, and well-mannered young ladies. They are active in Student Government as well as Yearbook, National Honor Society and other school activities. Both Lizzie and Emma enjoy playing volleyball and have played on their school teams as well as competitive club volleyball.
Alisa has taught ESOL, Literacy Intervention, Learning Support, and other subject areas at the elementary and secondary levels. She led Girl Scouts USA in Mexico and has been active in service organizations in Brazil, Mexico, and the USA. Alisa currently serves full-time as a district ESOL Instructional Coach. Alisa is the head JV volleyball coach for her high school and coaches for USA Volleyball with the Low Country Volleyball Club.
My leadership has been focused on providing learning that is…
Creative, exciting, and fun …
Authentic, inclusive, and real-world …
Technology infused and student centered…
BCSD Students Contributing to the Learning of Others!
BCSD Students Collaborate and Enjoy Hands-on Learning!
Extended beyond school walls…
Learning Comes Alive in Social Studies
A BCSD School Without Walls Trip.
As you prepare for your flights, I thought you might enjoy the following video. After you watch it, I will be interested to see if you yelled, “wow, I’m flying” during your flight :-). The ending is a little crude so you may want to stop it with about 10 seconds left (4:03). Enjoy!
Everything is Amazing, Nobody is Happy video:
In closing for now…
I believe AASSA is an amazing region of schools and educators, warm friendly people, and dedicated and talented students. It would be my pleasure and honor to assist the region in becoming an even more connected, collaborative, and successful educational community. I believe AASSA can serve as an exemplar to other regional educational associations around the world, and I believe I have the skills and dedication to make it happen.
My knowledge, experience, and passion regarding the AASSA region combined with my successful leadership and management experience in large and diverse settings make me a very strong match for the AASSA Executive Director position. Living in the region, recruiting teachers to the region, having both my daughters born in Brazil, and serving on AdvancED External Review Teams throughout the region are just a few highlights that I believe combine to give me a unique appreciation and understanding of the challenges and strengths of the region.
Thank you for taking the time to read this page, and for your interest in me as the next AASSA Executive Director. I am looking forward to our time together in Miami. Again, safe travels and see you soon!