Don Phillips considers the district his classroom
POWAY ---- Nearly three decades have passed since Don Phillips stepped out of social studies and history classrooms and into school administration, but his conversations and everyday phrases are still colored with references to the Founding Fathers and world cultures.
The Poway Unified School District superintendent, who has been at the helm of the nearly 33,000-student district for six years, says that's because he still considers himself a teacher ---- he is just leading and learning from a much larger class of students.
"It's more interactive, more of a give and take," Phillips said, adding that his "students" these days are parents, teachers and community leaders. "It's been an opportunity to work with other people who care and who do want to do a better job of educating kids."
In the years since he joined the district in 2001 ---- after serving for 12 years as the superintendent of two suburban school districts in the Bay Area ---- that has meant tackling everything from updating aging facilities to improving student achievement at all levels.