The Girls’ School of Austin is thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr. Rosa Peña as our interim head of school for the 2020 – 2021 school year. In Dr. Peña, we found a powerful combination of school leadership experience and an educational philosophy that aligns with GSA’s vision and culture, making her an ideal fit to lead the GSA next year through our transition.
Dr. Peña comes to GSA after 32 years of public service with the Austin Independent School District where she is currently the Executive Director of Human Resource Services. She holds a Ph.D. in Education-School Improvement and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Texas State University.
Dr. Peña served with distinction as an AISD elementary principal for fifteen years. Before her tenure as the founding principal of Baldwin Elementary in Southwest Austin, she was the leader of Zavala Elementary School in East Austin. In this role she was responsible for hiring, supervising, and evaluating faculty, developing educational programs and mentoring new principals as a vertical team leader as well as overseeing the day to day operations of the schools. Following her role as principal, Dr. Peña became the Director of Leadership Development for the district, where she ran leadership development programs, secured grant funding, supported the hiring of administrative positions, led professional learning opportunities for campus leaders and collaborated with university preparation programs.
Dr. Peña’s passion for empowering young women, her commitment to serve others, and her dedication to lifelong learning fit well with GSA’s mission to develop confident young women who lead intellectually vibrant and fulfilling lives. Her experience in school leadership and her operational skills clearly match the requirements we developed for the interim position. Her charge will be to work collaboratively with our community to build on our strong program while preparing us for the next steps in our school’s journey. Upon accepting our offer, Dr. Peña wrote, “I look forward to becoming a part of the GSA learning community and working with the students, families, staff, faculty, and the Board during this interim year.” The feeling is mutual.
The interim search committee evaluated thirteen candidates for the interim position and unanimously concluded that Dr. Peña was the best fit for our community. The GSA Board of Trustees unanimously approved the search committee’s recommendation. Described as a beacon of light by her colleagues, Dr. Peña also received ringing endorsements from the students and faculty who met with her during her visit as well as former GSA head Lisa Schmitt. Dr. Peña’s official start date at GSA will be July 1, 2020.