Last week Education Week announced IDEA Public Schools' Chief Program Officer Dolores Gonzalez as one of 14 individuals recognized as 2017 Leaders to Learn From.

She is the first charter school leader to be recognized in this group of school district leaders driving innovation and student achievement. Each year Education Week identifies the nation's most exceptional school district leaders and shines a spotlight on their extraordinary impact on the success of educators and students in its Leaders to Learn From special report.

Gonzalez is being recognized for her work leading instructional programs that impact IDEA’s 30,000 students in grades Pre-K to 12 in schools across Texas. Other leading-edge district leaders recognized for this award include district superintendents, leaders in education technology, and family engagement advocates from across the nation that are all seeing promising results for students and school communities.

“I am immensely honored to be recognized by Education Week as a 2017 Leaders to Learn From among many talented educators and district leaders who are ensuring students across the nation are succeeding and receiving the best education possible,” said Dolores Gonzalez, Chief Program Officer at IDEA Public Schools. “It is even more of an honor to be the first charter school leader recognized among this dynamic and inspiring group of leaders. It is my hope that Leaders to Learn From can serve as an example of what’s possible if we all commit to providing children with the tools they need to succeed in every year of school.”

At IDEA, Gonzalez currently oversees the design of our instructional model for our students in Pre-K-12 across all 51 schools. In addition to that, she oversees IDEA’s Special Education, PE, athletics, assessment, and research and analysis work to ensure IDEA’s teachers and leaders receive informative data to make instructional decisions about their students in a timely fashion.

IDEA schools are seeing impressive results through programs developed under Gonzalez’s leadership, such as Critical Student Intervention (CSI) and AP For All. As part of IDEA’s AP for All initiative, every student is required to take at least 11 Advanced Placement (AP) courses as part of their core curriculum in high school. In 2015, the percentage of IDEA students who passed AP exams with a score of three or higher increased by 145 percent, and the total number of AP Scholars at IDEA increased by 73 percent.

The Critical Student Intervention (CSI) initiative provides strategic reading and math intervention for IDEA’s most academically, at-risk students. Through CSI, students have additional reading and math instructional time using a research-based intervention that takes place during the school day to focus on closing gaps for our most struggling students in grades 3-7. The goal of CSI is to help ensure students in the program close their gap in Reading and/or Math by two years in one school year. Over the past two years, over 2,500 students have accomplished this goal.

IDEA Public Schools believes the road to college starts at a young age. Three years ago, Gonzalez and her team launched IDEA’s Pre-K program at IDEA Academy Pharr.  The mission was to place four-year-olds on the path to college with a quality Pre-K program. Due to tremendous success at IDEA Academy Pharr, IDEA currently offers Pre-K at twelve campuses across the Rio Grande Valley, with plans to expand this innovative program for young learners across Texas. Ninety-four percent of IDEA’s young Pre-K learners finished the year already beginning kindergarten work.

Through the Leaders to Learn From project, Education Week hopes educators will learn from these leaders’ stories and be inspired to "discover, aspire, and lead." Gonzalez will be recognized as an outstanding district leader at Education Week’s 2017 Leaders to Learn From event, taking place on March 30-31 2017 in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about IDEA Public Schools visit http://www.ideapublicschools.org/