A pair of Milpitas Unified School District schools secured their leadership teams for the 2022-23 school year, with Emily DeLora-Ellefson joining Principal Sean Anglon at Thomas Russell Middle School and Ryan Startz joining Principal Nanci Pass at Alexander Rose Elementary School.
Both DeLora-Ellefson and Startz were introduced to the Milpitas community by Superintendent Cheryl Jordan after unanimous approval from the MUSD Board of Education at its June 28 meeting. The principals from each school site were in attendance to welcome their new admin colleagues.
DeLora-Ellefson spent the previous two years as a Special Education Program Manager with Morgan Hill Unified School District. She holds an Urban Education Leadership and Administrative Credential from CSU-East Bay and a M.A./M.S./M.ED. in Special Education from San Francisco State.
“What drew me to Milpitas in the first place is your culture of inclusion,” said DeLora-Ellefson, who learned of MUSD through interaction with Executive Director Mary Jude Doerpinghaus. “Tonight, I am just completely in awe and excited to begin this journey with your district.”
Startz, heading into her 18th year in education, comes to MUSD via the Mountain View Whisman School District, where she gained valuable experience as a Fifth Grade Team Leader as well as a Teacher On Special Assignment (TOSA) Instructional Coach at two different sites. She holds a M.A./M.S./M.ED. in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University.
“I am absolutely honored and humbled to be chosen as the Assistant Principal at Rose Elementary School,” said Startz. “My leadership vision values the joyful education of the whole child through focusing on social-emotional growth, high expectations, and really celebrating the diversity of our community.”
As a Vice President of Finance for Oracle Corporation, a Fortune 100 technology company, Milpitas High School Class of 1992 alumnus Tom Nguyen is primarily responsible for financial planning and analysis, as well as certain strategic activities including mergers and acquisitions.
When he looks back on his time in Milpitas Unified School District, Nguyen, who attended Curtner and Spangler Elementary Schools and Rancho Milpitas Middle School, turns to the character traits of openness, compassion and empathy as guiding principles in his finance career.
“MUSD is a wonderful reflection of the culturally rich and diverse community it serves. I grew up around kids, parents and teachers who came from other countries, spoke multiple languages, and practiced various customs and faiths,” he recalled. “I came from a place of appreciating, celebrating, and respecting uniqueness. I think the most important aspect of a leader is the ability to relate to others.”
Prior to joining Oracle, Nguyen led finance teams at Palo Alto Networks, a leading cybersecurity company, for 7 years. Earlier, he held numerous finance leadership positions while at Cisco Systems and Apple after beginning his career with global financial consultancies EY and PWC. Nguyen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Business Administration from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Management.
One of his earliest MUSD inspirations came from the late Tom Carlton, a former MHS science teacher and long-distance running coach. “He was one of the first adults who treated me like an adult,” Nguyen shared. “He taught me how to take life seriously, while not taking myself too seriously.”
Nguyen took full advantage of everything MUSD had to offer, participating on the cross country and track teams; becoming an officer in student government; writing for the student newspaper; working on the yearbook; and various other student clubs.
“There’s really something for everyone, and it’s a great way to get to meet and know people in a positive environment,” said Nguyen, who holds fond memories from Honors and AP English classes. “Literature is the soul’s greatest form of expression and communication.”
For future generations of MUSD students, Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee, shared: “Every person has value and deserves their dignity. Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent; never give it. Once you accept yourself, you'll find how easy it is to step into your own power."
Milpitas Unified School District’s Board of Education approved two new team members at its June 14 meeting, with new addition Jillian Valdez joining the team as Program Manager, Student Services and Special Education; and Journeyman Abner Ames earning a promotion to Supervisor, Mechanical & Electrical, HVAC/Locks/Paint/Maintenance.
Valdez, who holds a Masters in Education Administration from CSU Northridge and Masters in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University, spent 10 years with Los Angeles Unified School District as an Area Assistant Principal overseeing special education at three schools, and Special Education Program Specialist.
“It does feel wonderful to join a district that is dedicated to the Culture of We and inclusion, and uplifting not only the academic growth and achievement of students but also their social and emotional well-being,” said Valdez, a Mission San Jose High School alumna. “I am really thrilled to be coming home and serving youth in communities that are similar to mine.”
Ames, in his sixth year with MUSD’s Maintenance, Operations and Transportation Team, previously owned his own facilities company and worked for the City of San Jose.
“Under this new role, I’m looking forward to being of service to our learners, to our teachers and to our staff, so we can provide places that are safe, comparable and conducive to learning and teaching,” Ames said. “We have a wonderful team."
Ribbon-cutting ceremonies for new track projects at Rancho Milpitas and Thomas Russell Middle Schools
Local and regional officials, as well as community members and organizations, joined Milpitas Unified School District leadership, staff and board of education on May 31 for two special ribbon-cutting ceremonies for the Measure AA-funded Track and Field projects at Rancho Milpitas Middle School and Thomas Russell Middle School.
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING:
The governing board of Milpitas Unified School District will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.