Virginia Matus-Glenn is District Crisis Coordinator and Grant Writer for Lake Tahoe Unified School District. The job is a new position for the district. "My role is gradually evolving," says Virginia. "I am technically responsible for the revision and supervision of the District Emergency Plan and for writing and supervising grants for the district. Actually, just about anything with the words grant, money, safety, emergency, crisis or technology ends up on my desk!"
Virginia began her teaching career as a K-5 ESL teacher in Compton Unified in 1970. She moved to Los Angeles Unified School District the next year and stayed in Los Angeles for eleven years in a variety of positions, ranging from bilingual teacher to special education teacher to itinerant mainstream teacher to a district level position as a bilingual advisor for the Division of Special Education. In 1982 she made the big move from Los Angeles to South Lake Tahoe and became an elementary principal. She served in that capacity for 19 years. In May of 2001 she was offered an opportunity to work at the district office as the Crisis Coordinator and Grant writer. She decided it was time for a change and since she loves writing grants, she made the change. She says that while the district office is a great place to work and she enjoys the ability to focus and work without interruption for hours on end, she really misses the students. "No one at the DO gives me spontaneous hugs the way my kids did!"
Her connection with technology began rather reluctantly. In 1989 she broke the thumb on her right hand. Her school's tech teacher moved a computer into her office and said "Now's the time to learn." Virginia fell in love with technology and hasn't stopped learning since.
During five years as a 1274 Restructuring School, she and her staff focused energy and resources on building the school's technology program. "We were convinced that for our predominantly low income, English Language Learner population, the only way they would achieve competitive status, would be for us to provide them with an expertise in technology. We bought as many computers as we could afford and provided many hours of training for the entire staff (and many parents too)."
Virginia participated in almost all the training herself. As a site administrator, she has handled all areas of technology planning for the school as well as serving on district technology committees. She had to handle the budget and financial planning for technology, and worked with district support staff for the operations and maintenance of technology resources. She worked closely with the school leadership team to provide the staff with appropriate professional development to keep everyone up to date in technology.
She has also participated in many additional training programs herself over the last few years. The 1274 restructuring effort involved a strong focus on data driven decision making, and she and the staff worked hard to make sure that their change efforts were effective. Since the end of the 1274 funding, the district has continued to focus on the analysis of a variety of data and the application of the results to how and what is taught.
Over the years Virginia has made presentations on a variety of topics for organizations such as the Council for Exceptional Children to the National Association for Bilingual Education. When she's not busy running a school or writing grants or managing crises, her favorite pastimes are reading, walking in the woods and weaving.