Founder and Executive Director
Luis Vanegas our Founder and Executive Director is originally from Nicaragua and came to the U.S. in 1981. He and many others like himself are proof that when someone is proficient in their primary language, they are able to learn and master English. He has 30 years of leadership and management skills, high integrity, strong moral work ethics, loyalty and great communications skills with a high sense of accountability to Shareholders, Board Members, Supervisors, Teachers, Parents and Students.
He helped Higher Education Assistance Foundation open its first bilingual call center to help prevent Latino students from going into default on their student loans and helped American Express Retirement Service and Norwest and State Street Bank open their first bilingual retirement services call center to encourage and support Latinos to save and plan for their retirement. With a love and passion towards education and a belief that all students can learn he changed careers and became a bilingual teacher. His past experiences along with his data analysis skills and knowledge of technology and bilingual education allowed him to have a direct impact on student performance and academic achievement from year one. His ability to form relationship with key stakeholders has and will continue to be instrumental in increasing parent engagement and building school community partners
Luis Vanegas is a Bilingual School Administrator with over sixteen years of experience at 5 turnaround school who have beaten the odds. As a “Turnaround Principal” he is goal oriented, creative, influential, and always looking into the future with an ability to work collaboratively with teachers and staff to do what is best for students and the school. His knowledge of curriculum, teaching strategies, classroom management techniques and the ability to implement a successful school wide discipline and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program have given him a proven track record to hire, train, and retain highly qualified employees, develop leaders, implement PLC’s and collaborate and mentor others so they also have a strong knowledge of curriculum, lesson planning, collaborative teaching strategies, culturally relevant teaching, classroom management techniques like Responsive Classroom, PBIS and/or Boys Town, and school wide discipline programs with SEL supports.
With a certificate from the Univ. of Minnesota in Dual Language and Immersion (where he came up with the concept of Escuela Éxitos) and experience about bilingual education, Luis is looking to implement a Two-Way Dual Language Immersion School which research from Thomas and Collier (1997) show is the best model for all learners, especially English Language Learners. Through Bi-literacy and using Multilingualism as an Asset, he expects Escuela Éxitos not only to be a good Choice School for many families but one of the top Elementary Schools in the State with a culture and environment that is positive and embraces change.
You can expect him to be an anchor at times of change, and an agent of change when it is needed to stay on top of innovation, technology and new strategies. All so that increasing student learning outcomes, school desirability, student enrollment, customer satisfaction by teachers, parents and students continue to be the priorities of the school. While never losing focus that the school must first always be a safe teaching and learning environment for all with its strong focus on Spanish and English biliteracy.
Leader Recommendations and Guidelines
Change your thinking regarding the goal of research and evaluation in language minority education. Be prepared to undertake long-term actions and to look for long-term results, while de-emphasizing short-term studies or program evaluations for school decision-making. Be prepared to ask better questions about program effectiveness.
Collect data that is both cross-sectional and longitudinal, and examine successive cohorts of students, in order to get the full picture of the effects of your instructional programs for English language learners, as well as for all language minority students.
Realize that you must embark on a long-term effort to improve the outcomes of your school’s instruction in all subjects and for all students. Improving language minority students’ performance is a long-term undertaking, even under the best and most favorable of instructional environments and programs.
Determine the expected long-term achievement that will result from continued implementation of your present program for English language learners. Then, determine which program’s long-term achievement corresponds best with your expectations for your students.
“Move up” to a well implemented instructional program for English learners whose long-term predicted achievement matches your expectations for your students.
Resolve that you will faithfully and fully implement your instructional program of choice for 3-5 years and that you will follow student achievement in all content areas during this time.
Implement your chosen instructional practices as well as possible and monitor your instructional programs continuously.
Ask yourself, “Have our present instructional practices created long- term parity for language minority students with native-English speakers?” Arrange for your school or your school system to take the Thomas-Collier test of equal educational opportunity.
Close that achievement gap and keep it closed!