Dahlia Aguilar: Founding Principal

Dahlia brings to her role as Mundo Verde’s founding principal 20 years of school leadership and instructional experience in bilingual elementary and high school education. She has worked for over ten years to strengthen the practice of teachers and leaders in public and public charter schools with multicultural and multilingual student bodies.

Dahlia came to Mundo Verde from her position as Assistant Principal of Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC), a grades 6-12 Early College Campus. In her seven years at CHEC, Dahlia led the development of a professional learning community of teachers and other school staff to support, push and create effective practices among CHEC’s teachers. She worked with teachers across content areas and grade levels, using various tools of observation and feedback. Dahlia was simultaneously CHEC’s World Language Chair, responsible for oversight of instruction, curriculum development and assessment of world languages for grades 6-12.  In this role, she successfully transitioned what was a traditional foreign languages program to an immersion program; in 2010 she helped launched the school’s first ever dual immersion middle school program.

Dahlia’s teaching career began 18 years ago in early child development and early elementary programs – she taught pre-kindergarten and kindergarten in both bilingual immersion and English as a second language programs in District of Columbia public schools. More recently, Dahlia served as the Director of Teaching and Learning for the National Council of La Raza, where, among other things, she designed professional development for educators serving Latino student populations nationally. Dahlia is an alumna of Teach for America and a former New Leaders for New Schools Fellow/Principal Resident. She earned her B.A. in English from Georgetown University, her M.A. in secondary education from Texas A&M University and her M.S. in educational leadership from Trinity University. Dahlia is fluent in Spanish. Dahlia lives in Washington, D.C., is a member of Mundo Verde's founding board, and has a child who is in this year's kindergarten class.

As the Mundo Verde community continues in our journey to launch a great school, Dahlia shared some thoughts with us about what makes schools great --

What truly distinguishes good schools from great schools is the transformative nature of their approach. Great schools work beyond the status quo and against all odds to reach desired results. Whether it is the recruitment, support and development of school staff; intervention and differentiation in learning for students; or the engagement of parents and community members, great schools use the intelligence of all their stakeholders to create the change they want to see and prioritize their resources as they prioritize their goals. They view their communities as assets in their diversity and work relentlessly to undo inequity in education, constantly reconsidering how obstacles in meeting the mission of the school are also opportunities for innovation and human development.

I will help make Mundo Verde a great school by working collaboratively with the Executive Director, Board, teachers, staff, parents, students and community to carry a torch for these practices through professional learning community and to work hard to ensure a profound commitment to education for sustainability, bi-literacy and
expeditionary learning. I will model the habits of mind we expect of students and teachers, and learn what must be known to make the change we want to see. I will work to make Mundo Verde the great school its founders and future stakeholders envision.