Shawn T. Loescher is an American Educational Research Association (AERA) awarded scholarly practitioner in the field of action research and sciences with over 30 years of experience. He began his career as an educator as a teacher’s aide at the age of 17—a path that led to P/K-12 teaching, adjunct professorship, administrative work, and cabinet-level school district leadership in a diverse group of settings, schools, and education systems domestically and abroad. Dr. Loescher has a proven record of successful educational leadership having served as a Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer, District Executive Director, District Director, Program Specialist, Principal, and Academy Director. He has been a presenter to the California Senate Education Committee on the topic of career readiness and post-secondary preparedness. He has served as a member of think tank groups and special committees for groups such as the International Center for Leadership in Education and the Center for Secondary School Redesign.
The internationally renowned TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) organization named Dr. Loescher as one of their 16 worldwide awardees for the TED-Ed Innovative Educators in the 2019-2020 school year. He recorded his talk at the TED Summit in Edinburgh Scotland in July 2019. Dr. Loescher is a sought after keynote speaker and has been featured by the Center for Secondary School Redesign, Arizona State University, University of California, and Indiana Youth Institute. His research was featured at the 2018 AERA annual meeting in New York City and his work Hope as Strategy: The Effectiveness of an Innovation of the Mind was named the AERA Action Research Special Interest Group Dissertation of the Year for 2020. For his innovative educational work in response to the pandemic, Dr. Loescher was a featured author and was interviewed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Arizona State University, University of Colorado, Indiana University, and Kansas State University project known as the Silver Lining for Learning project for educational innovation.
Dr. Loescher has been responsible for the effective implementation and sustainability of multiple federal, state, and private/non-profit grants. He has extensive experience on college and career readiness, workforce development, and pathway alignment. He earned his Doctorate in Education with a focus on leadership and innovation at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College of Arizona State University. He currently serves as the COO of a large school district with a focus on excellence and innovation in education in the greater San Diego Metropolitan region.
As the Chief Operations Officer of Vista Unified School District, Dr. Loescher has been entrusted by the District Superintendent and Board of Trustees with the overarching district operation with a focus on excellence and innovation. With 29 schools serving nearly 20,000 students from preschool to 12th grade, five additional schools serving over 3,000 children operate as independent charter schools authorized by Vista Unified. Vista Unified also includes one of the county's largest adult-education programs with approximately 25,000 students enrolled each year. Dr. Loescher works collaboratively with the executive team, community, and Board of Trustees on special projects with a three year budget projection of approximately 300 million dollars through local Proposition LL and various sources to provide world-class learning environments for students, teachers, and the community.
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My primary research interest pertains to change agent leadership to develop systems and environments where innovative practice can thrive. My theoretical framework explores how Hope Theory (Snyder, 2002) may provide a means of navigating the elements of social oppression that may be embedded within Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory (1994; 1977).