Manuel L. Isquierdo, Ed.D.
Proud Superintendent of the Sunnyside District
Manuel L. Isquierdo, Ed.D. joined the Sunnyside Unified School District in July 2007 to serve as the district’s new superintendent. Dr. Isquierdo has served as an administrator in both urban and suburban school districts for the past 20 years, two years as an Area Superintendent in the Dallas Independent School District and two years as Deputy Superintendent of Stockton Unified School District in Stockton, California. His record is one of consistent achievement in the field of school improvement with an emphasis on improving test scores, decreasing dropout rates, and increasing graduation rates. As an urban school administrator, Dr. Isquierdo is experienced in implementing and managing change and creating and designing successful comprehensive school reform initiatives that are being used as models at the state and national levels.
Dr. Manuel L. Isquierdo is truly a visionary who is making a difference in the lives of thousands of students. He has been honored in 2011 as one of Tech & Learning’s three Learning Leaders of the Year who exemplify extraordinary vision, honored as one of Converge Magazine’s 2011 Education Innovators, and in 2010 honored as one of the nation’s ten Tech-Savvy Superintendents of the Year by eSchool News. Truly an outstanding educational leader and innovator, he has taken the Sunnyside Unified School District, once labeled as a dropout factory, and transformed it using technology.
The beginning of the district’s transformation through technology was in the fall of 2007 when Dr. Isquierdo created Project Graduation: The Digital Advantage. Significant improvements in the number of graduates, attendance and student achievement were realized as early as May 2008. Dr. Isquierdo created Project Graduation: The Digital Advantage to motivate and support students; the program was implemented in the 2008-09 school year. The Digital Advantage awards laptops to freshmen for achievement of the Four A’s: Attendance, Achievement, extracurricular Activity and Attitude (no out-of-school suspensions). Dr. Isquierdo’s personal involvement in fund-raising resulted in commitments of $1.1 million in six months towards the Digital Advantage laptop program.
Dr. Isquierdo’s innovative leadership through technology did not stop there however. In 2009 the Digital Advantage was expanded to include a comprehensive Dropout Recovery initiative where students are encouraged to return to school. Students are provided the use of laptops and online courses so they have every opportunity possible to earn a high school diploma.
New in 2010, was the fifth grade one-to-one computing program, Digital Explorers, which gave every fifth grader use of a laptop for online learning in school and at home. Immediate improvement in student engagement and academic achievement was seen. In fall 2012, the one-to-one initiative was expanded to include grades 4 through 9 and the district was honored as a Project RED Signature District and invited to become a member of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools. With the passage of an $88 million dollar bond designating $27 million for technology over the next ten years, Sunnyside aims to reach the ultimate goal of creating a K-12 one-to-one learning environment across the district.
Having sparked interest in his district’s transformation through technology, Dr. Isquierdo is called upon by many professional technology and educational organizations to share the district’s journey, the challenges and obstacles they encountered and overcame, and best practices that can be applied to any district—small or large. Dr. Isquierdo shares his passion for transforming education with his wife Edith, also an educator, and their two children Samantha 15 and Robert 12.