Meet our Executive Director: Yamile Reina

Yamile grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.  Her first schooling experience was in a French school in the Middle East.  She studied abroad as a high school exchange student in North Africa and then again in college at the Sorbonne in Paris.  After earning a BA from the University of Illinois, she moved to Denver and began her career in education.  Yamile earned a MA in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from Denver University in 2011.  Following over ten years as a bilingual teacher, she has also worked as an instructional coach and assistant principal.  She is excited to combine her love of the French language with her passion for education at the French American School of Denver.  Yamile lives in Denver with her husband and two sons and she enjoys family outings, travel and journaling. 

“A quality education means students feel self-worth about their own abilities to read, write and problem-solve in two or more languages while engaging in quality student discourse, learning how to learn, and thinking critically.”

Summary of Leadership Qualifications

  • 10 years experience evaluating teachers and providing feedback to inspire and develop teacher leaders
  • 10 years experience supporting schools in developing strategic school improvement plans
  • 10 years experience delivering professional development on data, curriculum and best practices
  • Committed mission to eradicate achievement gaps so all students have to equal access to college
  • Cultivated a collaborative school culture that encouraged all stakeholders to have a voice
  • Coordinated school-wide standardized assessments such as PARCC, MAP, WIDA for ELLs
  • Ability to distinguish effective teaching practices and to hire and retain high-quality teachers
  • 12 years of bilingual (Spanish-English) elementary classroom teaching experience
  • Multilingual: Fluent in Spanish and French as well novice level in German and Arabic

Yamile’s Educational Philosophy and Leadership Style

Both my parents immigrated to the USA from Colombia. I grew up learning English as a second language and struggled in school with English Literacy. Fortunately for me, I did not lose my Spanish while learning English. And because of my father’s work, I learned French at the age of five while living abroad in the Middle East. These experiences of living abroad and learning new languages shaped who I am and how I engage in the world. My vision for today’s global students and my own children as well, is that they become bilingual and bicultural if not trilingual.

As a school leader, it is my personal mission to advocate for the civil rights of students to access higher education by creating and sustaining systems that remove barriers for our most struggling students in addition to challenge our most successful students. All students have a right to a quality education that leads to a productive and successful future – access to college. A quality education means students feel self-worth about their own abilities to read, write and problem-solve in two or more languages while engaging in quality student discourse, learning how to learn, and thinking critically.

My courage, competence and experience drive my relentless pursuit to create the highest quality-learning environment for all students to achieve academic excellence. Increasing student learning is a complex charge that requires a collaborative effort. Therefore, my commitment to empower teachers, students, and families to reach their highest potential are rooted in my core values of compassion, integrity, and collaboration.

Professional learning communities is one way to create a collaborative school culture focused on student learning goals, data analysis, and the instructional strategies needed to increase academic achievement. The use of protocols and agendas with clear outcomes, times allotted and next steps help teachers walk away encouraged and motivated. Having been trained in best practices for delivering professional development has provided me with a toolbox of ways to connect teachers with each other in fun and motivating ways. In other words, we need to have fun while engaging in this complex work of teaching and learning. While I personally can be very serious I enjoy laughter so I use humor to put people at ease. My goal is to create the collective efficacy in us all to believe we can make the difference for each student.

All stakeholders depend on the school leaders to model and uphold the school’s mission and vision. Mission and vision though live through how we show up as leaders, how we interact with students, parents and teachers every single day. One of my favorites quotes that I try to live by is one from Dr. Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you make them feel.”

I am passionate about coaching teachers and leaders in a way that values their strengths and supports them in identifying next steps. I believe that each time we interact with a colleague, student or fellow human being we have the opportunity to empower or disempower, so it is my responsibility to ensure that every person leaves the interaction encouraged, motivated and inspired. We all have room to grow, whether we are leaders, teachers, parents or students and my goal is to create the environment so that each individual is valued and able to accomplish their personal best. This is how I can serve the learning institution I may be asked to lead.