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Derk Garcia is Superintendent of Schools of the Roseville City School District, in Roseville, California.  He began his career in education as a teacher at La Entrada Continuation High School in the San Juan Unified School District.  He transitioned to the Elk Grove Unified School District where he served for eleven years as a teacher, vice principal, and principal.  Derk returned to the San Juan Unified School District as a Director, Assistant Superintendent, and Interim Chief Academic Officer prior to making the move to Superintendent within the Roseville City School District.  He believes that education has the power to elevate individuals and families for generations.  To that end, he focuses the energy and efforts of the Roseville City School District on three main drivers:  improving instruction, building capacity,  and strengthening collaboration. 
Derk was born and raised in Sacramento where he attended public schools within the Sacramento Unified School District.  He earned a bachelor’s degree in History from the University of California, Davis, and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from California State University, Sacramento.  
He and his family live in El Dorado Hills, CA.  He and his wife Jen have two boys, ages 9 and 7.  Derk believes strongly in the potential of all children and therefore, dedicates a significant amount of time volunteering in his personal and professional communities.  Within the personal community, he coaches youth soccer and baseball and volunteers monthly at his children’s church.  On the professional side, Derk serves as board member for the Roseville City School District Foundation, Tommy Apostolos Fund and KidsFirst.

About The Conversation

      Derk is a career educator and leader, who was influenced in his success by his parents.  By extension, he influences his own community with his volunteerism and community engagement.  He believes strongly in maintaining a work/life balance. 

      He believes in the power of working with a stable and supportive board, allowing him to focus on the real work.  Derk has worked hard to create a collaborative and healthy environment for all stakeholders.

     The 3 Pillars:

  • Scholarship: Derk believes in sustained and comprehensive professional learning as part of his district's culture - the adults must model the behaviors that demonstrates that they are always learning.  He provides opportunities for growth and development among his staff.   Its value resides in its ability to influence students in their own scholarship.
  • Leadership:  Derk believes that everyone must lead at every level.  That is a characteristic of "systemness".  Leadership cannot come from the top down.   It's the whole collaborative nature of problem-solving.  He believes in nurturing leadership, helping his staff develop their leadership capacity.
  • Agency: Building agency starts around empowering students' learning and advocating for their needs.  But it also applies to the teachers.   The teachers' drivers should be based on those identified needs for the benefit of students.   If the district is great in some schools, but not others, the district is not a successful district.  Agency for principals is about empowering principals to advocate for their students.

      Critical issues that challenge his work include budget and teacher shortages.  As a result, he has had to identify strategies to combat these challenges. 


Resources Mentioned

District Website: Roseville City School District

You can reach Derk Garcia on

  • Twitter:  @derk_garcia
  • Email:

The District Leader email:

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The Sponsors
This episode is being sponsored by, where you get a FREE audiobook download and 30 day free trial at, byIsagenix, one of America’s leading health and wellness companies, and by, Education’s Daily Digest.

Additional resources

You can reach Luis Valentino on

  • Twitter handle: @district_leader
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Episode 008: Derk Garcia

"For us the message that we're trying to get out... is that we have the potential to positively impact every single child every day.  And what we want to do as an organization is to be a little bit better tomorrow than we are today."

- Derk Garcia