How this superintendent helps her community ‘live our vision’ through 6 strategic goals

Superintendent Rosanna Mucetti believes that the core of leadership is commitment, remaining curious, asking lots of questions and an openness to continuous improvement.

“Keep in touch” could easily be one of Superintendent Rosanna Mucetti’s mantras at the Napa Valley Unified School District. “Robust Communication, Community Engagement and Advocacy” is a pillar of the Northern California school system.

“NVUSD’s strategic goals and the way they are implemented and communicated across divisions, departments, and through many modes of communication ensure our community knows and lives our vision,” says Mucetti, who was recently named a Superintendent to Watch by the National School Public Relations Association.

“We ensure that expectations, progress, and successes are communicated regularly with stakeholders,” she adds.

Napa Valley Unified School District has six strategic goals (see below) and Mucetti and her team update the school board each week on the progress being made. A biweekly “All-Divisions” newsletter notifies faculty, staff and constituent groups about the status of the district’s ongoing projects.

And the “Family” newsletter keeps parents and guardians aware of events and other aspects of their student’s school experience. “Effective communication is essential to our school district’s success and, thus, to our student’s success,” she asserts.

Mucetti chatted with District Administration about how technology is reshaping instruction, truly hearing and learning from the community, and the qualities at the core of leadership.

1. DA: Why are communications a priority for you? Who is most important to communicate with- students?

Rosanna Mucetti: “Partnership with all the stakeholders is essential to strong communications. In July 2018, I was named superintendent of the Napa Valley Unified School District. In partnership with NVUSD’s Board of Education Trustees, we created an integrated strategic plan that took into consideration feedback from our NVUSD families, staff, and community partners. The result was a set of six strategic goals that guide our district:

  1. Student Learning, Achievement, and Access
  2. Effective Employee Relations and Resource Management
  3. Robust Communication, Community Engagement and Advocacy
  4. Tactical, Proactive and Efficient Asset Management
  5. Equity-Centered Leadership and Inclusive Organizational Culture
  6. Strategic Impactful Governance and Policy Implementation

These six goals became especially critical in guiding leadership decisions during the unexpected COVID pandemic and as we looked toward our future.

2. Describe how you use communications technology.

“Technology has been instrumental in reshaping how NVUSD communicates and connects with stakeholders, and also in how we educate our students.

Through an investment in equipment and programs and a strong partnership with our internal technology team, we have made decisions that have vastly improved communication throughout our district. A few include the purchase of Promethean boards for all classrooms in our 26 schools. These devices, along with strong internal training and support, have vastly helped our students engage and learn in the classroom and helped our staff support learning outside the classroom.

This combined with improvements we have made to our websites, our community communication platform, and through the use of videos, among other efforts, has improved how information is shared and received across all our stakeholder groups.”

3. What are the things that are you most excited about for Napa Valley USD?

“The Napa Valley Unified School District is fortunate to have so many staff, families, board and community partners who care about advancing education for our children with a focus on equity and excellence. NVUSD’s ability over the last five years to increase community engagement—to truly hear and learn from our community—makes me feel incredibly proud and excited.

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We have taken what we learned and developed a defined, consistent internal and external communications framework. This has ensured that not only is the messaging NVUSD wants to be communicated and shared but that we also have a framework in place to collect information and feedback from our stakeholders. This has resulted in robust listening-and-learning sessions, ongoing meetings with parents through a Coffee with the Superintendent series, expanded multilingual interpretation/translation services and so much more.

Increased community engagement across our diverse demographics has enriched our school community and, thus, our students’ learning. There is even more to come as we reimagine our future in preparation for a new strategic vision and plan to guide our next 10-15 years.”

4. What are the keys to your leadership philosophy, and how do these contribute to your district’s success?

“Leadership is working with trusted partners to build a framework for progress and accountability. I feel fortunate that our Board of Trustees, staff, families and community partners wholeheartedly support our strategic goals by showing up each day to provide the education and experiences our students deserve.

I believe that the core of leadership is commitment, staying curious, asking lots of questions and an openness to continuous improvement. Listening and learning as we navigate the complexities we are facing in our school communities are non-negotiable if our goal is effective leadership.”

5. How have your responsibilities changed over the last few years?

“Change is a constant in this profession. As many might agree, the pandemic reshaped the educational landscape for our community and required us to re-stabilize our organization and develop the systems and commit the resources needed to be responsive. The importance of a strong plan was reinforced time and time again.

Schools are responding to more and more needs within the communities that we serve. In NVUSD, we are currently engaging in strategic visioning and planning in order to reimagine how our schools need to be designed for our students’ future in an increasingly complex world.”

6. What are the biggest challenges Napa Valley USD is facing right now?

“Declining enrollment persists in our state due to the lack of affordable housing. As the population of school-aged children in our area decreases, enrollment at our schools will decrease. However, by making decisions based on data and research, we can ensure we have the right mix of programming and facilities to support our students.

Although declining enrollment is a challenge, it can also be viewed as an opportunity to strengthen programs that align with our values and resources, and that are accessible to all our students and families.”

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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