District Leader

District Leader: Transforming Education is a podcast about moving and inspiring educators and non-educators alike to believe in the power of education, its leaders, and its transformation. Each week, host Luis Valentino interviews district leaders who share their stories.
RSS Feed
District Leader


All Episodes
Now displaying: October, 2016
Oct 26, 2016

My guest this week is Eve Kaltz, Superintendent of Center Line Public Schools in Center Line, Michigan.  Eve has served as the Superintendent of Center Line Public Schools since 2009, but has spent all of her nearly 30-year career in the district.  She began her education career as a teacher.  After teaching for 13 years, Eve was hired as the Elementary Learning Consultant for Center Line. She later served as principal of two different elementary schools, and as Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.
Eve received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from
Oakland University, and her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Saginaw Valley State University.  She is an active member of many educational associations such as the Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership, the District Administration Leadership Institute, the Michigan Institute of Education ManagementMichigan CoOp, the Michigan Association of School Administrators, Oakland University’s Superintendents’ Academy, the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium, the Macomb County Association of School Administrators, and the Macomb County School Boards Association. She also participates in many local civic organizations such as the Center Line Lions’ Club, the Warren Rotary Club, and the Center Line Educational Foundation and supports many organizations that put children first, such as My College Options, CARE of Southeastern Michigan, Health Heroes, and Playworks.
Eve believes that she is blessed to serve the students and community and has instituted many changes that have led to greater opportunities for all students.  One of her most ambitious projects has been the restructuring of Center Line High School to the academy model backed by
Ford Next Generation Learning.  Four years ago, Eve and her team began the groundwork for this vision by launching a 9th Grade Academy; this fall marked the launch of the Academies of Center Line including two career academies: the Academy of Industry, Technology & Innovation and the Academy of Health and Human Services.  Eve was honored to present the etiology of Center Line’s transformative model and her ideas for the future of secondary education at the Fall MASA Conference as well as the MAS/FPS 2016 Fall Directors’ Institute.  Other forward-thinking innovations she has brought to Center Line Schools include Academy 21, an alternative program which offers a blended environment with a flexible structure. This program has proven to be very successful for both students with credits to recover as well as advanced students; the authorization of Rising Stars Academy, an incredible culinary arts, farm-to-plate program that serves students who are cognitively impaired who are between the ages of 18 and 26 years; and the Homeschool Partnership, a cooperative arrangement that provides local students with opportunities to take multiple elective courses with others that has grown exponentially.


Eve is a leader of great faith, and believes that it has guided her along her leadership journey, and plays an important role in her daily work.

Oct 19, 2016
My guest this week is Nicholas Henkle, Superintendent of Channahon School District 17, in Channahon, Illinois.  Nick began his teaching career at Downers Grove North High School as a long-term substitute teacher.  He then taught for three years at Rockdale School near Joliet, IL, teaching Language Arts and Reading and also coaching football and basketball.  He later became the principal in Oak Lawn, IL in Atwood Heights District 125 where he served for six years. Nick accepted his first superintendency in Rockdale, IL in 2013, at the age of 32.  He now serves as the superintendent of the Channahon School District 17, where he serves 1,300 outstanding Pre-k - 8th grade students.  Nick has served as an adjunct professor for aspiring administrators through Saint Xavier University and has provided professional development at state conferences through the Illinois Association of School Administrators.  
Nick earned his bachelor's degree in English with a teaching endorsement in Language Arts at Northern Illinois University. He obtained his masters degree from the University of St. Francis in 2007, at the age of 26.  While serving as principal, Nick enrolled in the doctoral program at Illinois State University.  He  expects to defend his dissertation in January, 2017. His dissertation is a comparative case study of high achieving school districts in Illinois serving economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse student populations.  Nick also obtained his superintendent endorsement in 2013.      
Nick is an active member of numerous organizations, including the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the American Association of School Superintendents, The Suburban Superintendents' Association (Chicago suburbs), and the Illinois Association of Christian Administrators, which he co-founded.  Nick earned two university academic awards for his work at Illinois State as well as the Illinois Association of School Administrator's Moon Scholarship for aspiring superintendents.   Links to these organizations as well as other information shared in his bio will be available on the District Leader website.
His interests and passions revolve around service leadership, innovation/creativity, classroom differentiation through technology, community-focused schools, and meeting the needs of a diverse learning community.  Nick is an advocate for 21st Century Learning and helped to introduce the 21st Century Learning initiative in  Channahon District 17.  
Oct 12, 2016

Diann Kitamura is the superintendent of the Santa Rosa City School District, in Santa Rosa, California.  Since February, 2016, she has served as superintendent of the Santa Rosa City School District, where she also served as the associate and assistant superintendent.  She previously served as the assistant superintendent and director in the Grant High School District, and a coordinator in the Hayward Unified School District.  Diann began her career as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Maxwell High School. She was a school counselor at Maxwell High School and then at Galt High School.  While in the Galt High School District, she became a vice principal and a principal. Diann earned her bachelor’s degree in plant science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and a master’s degree in counseling from California State University, Sacramento.  Among her many accomplishments, Diann was named Sonoma County Assistant Superintendent of the Year for 2015, the KRCB (NPR) American Graduate Champion in 2015, received the California School Boards Association (CSBA) Golden Bell Award in 2014, was selected to the California School Board Association Superintendents' Advisory Council, and was awarded a 2016 Brandman University Doctoral Fellowship.  Diann is committed to serving students and their families by ensuring that quality educational opportunities are provided for all students.  She believes that "sense-making learning experiences" and "support systems that engage students" will inspire them to dream big, to persevere, and to thrive.  She is the proud mother of two adult children, and the wife of a middle school teacher.

Oct 5, 2016

Rich Merlo is the Superintendent of the Corcoran Unified School District.  He began his career in education in 1977 as a biology and physical education instructor and coach. He became an assistant principal in 1994 and served as principal for the next eight years. Rich also taught at Kings River Community College, and is currently an online instructor for the University of Phoenix.

     His education includes a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in education from Stanford University. Rich also holds a master’s degree in education administration from Fresno Pacific University. He completed the Superintendent’s Academy from the Association of California School Administrators.   He also obtained his community college teaching credential. 
     Rich has served as Corcoran’s Superintendent since 2004. He is passionate about raising the achievement level of all Corcoran students through “motivating people to motivate students.” A key part of his mission is ensuring that staff and students have the most innovative tools and technology available to enhance student learning and to prepare students for success in this Information Age.
Twice, Rich has been honored Central Sequoia Football Coach of the Year, and has served as head coach of the County All Star Team.  He has been Selma Unified School District Teacher of the Year and Fresno County Administrator of the Year finalist. He received the Association of California School Administrators Region 11 Administrator of the Year Award in 2011, and was a Lexington Institute Leadership Fellow in 2015.
     Rich is very active in his community, as a member of the Corcoran Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Community and Schools Together (CAST).  He is also a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee for California State Prison - Corcoran and Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and Prison at Corcoran.  he sits on the President’s Advisory Committee for the School of Education at California State University, Fresno, and is Executive Leadership Council for the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute.  He is a member of the Rural Schools Network for the Central Valley.