JULY 2021 SUPERINTENDENT’S LETTER OF INTRODUCTION
Dear Bennett Valley USD Community,
I am both honored and delighted to have been selected as Bennett Valley Union School District’s fourth superintendent. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to the community while also highlighting some of the qualities that drew me to this district.
Even after a particularly disruptive year due to COVID, there remains plenty of evidence that this district has sustained thoughtful programming and a healthy community with extraordinary staff, deeply engaged students and families, and a highly effective governing board.
Since my appointment was announced in March of 2021, I have been studying as much as possible about this extraordinary district, and I have assembled a long list of charming qualities and impressive accomplishments. My official entry into the district was in July, and I continue to find great pleasure in exploring the nuances of greatness in this special district and community.
I have also had the great fortune of connecting and collaborating with Dr. Sue Field, BVUSD’s most recent superintendent of nearly three decades. Dr. Field crafted a very thoughtful exit plan and has been quite generous with her time and attention throughout my transition into the district. I intend to honor her remarkable legacy of leadership and whole-heartedly embrace the many programs she stewarded and philosophies she bestowed.
One of the most compelling attributes in the Bennett Valley Union School District is the comprehensive focus on serving the whole child as evidenced by two simple but powerful pursuits: academic success and a healthy climate. Primary program supports for each goal are Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and RULER, respectively. Meaningful content within streamlined structures resonates deeply with me.
Equally worthy of note is the Bennett Valley mission and vision. The BVUSD mission is distilled into three key elements: scholarship, mentorship, and friendship. I am struck by the similarity of these elements with my personal priorities for schools: rigorous learning, healthy systems, and social-emotional support. Similarly, the BVUSD vision beautifully pledges to provide children with both ‘roots’ and ‘wings.’ I adore this sentiment.
Finally, I am especially moved by BVUSD’s bold declaration that “all students can learn,” clear commitment to equity, and “relentless pursuit of success for all students.” These are the very tenets that drive my own leadership, and I am honored by the opportunity to further these pursuits in Bennett Valley.
I look forward to partnering with the BVUSD community as we build upon an established foundation of excellence. I offer my commitment to honor what exists and maintain a focus on what matters and what works.
Alexis Cala, Superintendent
Bennett Valley Union School District
Read more about Superintendent Cala's background below from BVUSD’s 2021 Board President Jeremy Brott’s letter introducing Ms. Cala to the community.
Ms. Cala joins us with over 20 years of school leadership experience in a variety of California communities and a breadth of student programs. She began her career in Sacramento as a math and ballet teacher. She worked briefly in Southern California as an academic recovery teacher and site administrator in an alternative program for at-promise students. She came to the Bay Area in 2006 spending five years as an administrator with Envision Schools, designing rigorous project-based learning and a comprehensive social-emotional program for students who were generally the first in their families to attend college. In 2011, Ms. Cala returned to the elementary classroom in the Reed Union School District, where she subsequently transitioned into the role of Digital Media Specialist, then Assistant Principal for a K-2 and a 3-5 school, and ultimately as principal of Bel Aire Elementary School, one of three schools in the district.
In each of these roles, Ms. Cala has demonstrated a commitment to being both data-driven and people focused. She is highly skilled in the areas of streamlining systems, establishing trust, communicating with clarity and authenticity, leading with integrity, and supporting all staff in a collaborative pursuit of universal student growth. Ms. Cala is consistently described as a highly effective leader who has established strong relationships with a focus on student outcomes. She is also described as equity-minded, passionate, thoughtful, inspiring, supportive, visible, compassionate, and creative with notable expertise in the areas of student social-emotional support and high-impact teaching and learning.
Ms. Cala grew up in Davis, California. She earned her bachelor’s degree from University of the Pacific’s Benerd School of Education, and her master’s in school leadership from UCLA. Currently, Ms. Cala resides in San Rafael with her husband, Jon, and their six-year-old son, Lorenzo. Jon is a member of the Santa Rosa Symphony and Lorenzo is a self-described Lego “Master Builder.”
Ms. Cala was drawn to Bennett Valley for a variety of reasons and remains duly impressed with its existing programs, high-quality leadership, extraordinary staff, engaged students, and supportive families.