Beloved educator Assistant Superintendent Kathy Felici will retire this month after an illustrious career spanning more than 4 decades. Originally an elementary school teacher in New York City, Felici moved to the desert in 1987 and began her career in the DSUSD. She served as principal of Indio’s Theodore Roosevelt elementary before becoming the first principal at Dr. Reynaldo Carreon Elementary school in 2004, where she was challenged to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds meet state performance benchmarks. When the new magnet school opened, nearly half of the students were English language learners, a population that traditionally experiences difficulty in reaching these benchmarks. Felci would not watch her students struggle only to fall behind, however: she and her staff pioneered a small-group approach that proved incredibly effective and remains the cornerstone of Carreon’s curriculum.
Following her success at Carreon, Felci became DSUSD’s Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in 2012. In her new role, she guided the district through the transition to California's Common Core Standards. Under her tenure, DSUSD’s schools continue to achieve recognition as one of California’s Gold Ribbon Schools. Felci also turned her sights to the district's quality of instruction, designing a professional development program for educators that won her a California Golden Bell award in 2016. When she retires this month, Felci will leave behind a legacy of innovative programs that helped the children and educators of DSUSD thrive.