LDI Highlight - Kristie Spillane and Gracie Degnan

CalSAC is proud to highlight Kristie Spillane and Gracie Degnan from CalSAC's 2018 Leadership Development Institute 360°/365 fellowship.  Kristie and Gracie are leaders who have demonstrated unrivaled commitment to the field and drive for advanced leadership in the out-of-school time and early learning field.

Kristie Spillane, Poway Unified School District - San Diego

Kristie Spillane, Poway Unified School District - San Diego

Kristie Spillane grew up attending school in the Poway Unified School District and was one of the first attendees of the afterschool program that is now located at every elementary school in the district.

With both parents working, the afterschool program provided opportunities to be in a safe and enriching program with people that valued the importance of an extended school day. For her first job she was offered an opportunity as a High School Aide and enjoyed being able to make an impact on the children she worked with. Kristie moved from High School Aide, to Instructional Aide and, after a brief separation from the district, came back as a Site Supervisor for the Extended Student Services Program. In 2006, Kristie transitioned into an Early Childhood Development Supervisor where she launched an employee childcare program for infants and toddlers. She now oversees 14 school sites and manages 59 Instructional Assistant’s. Kristie’s highest priority is to support staff and children to ensure that preschool is a safe and caring place to be while parents are working.

The preschool program in Poway Unified School District welcomed almost 1,100 preschoolers to school. The District provides multiple types of programs to meet the needs of children with Fee Based, State Funded, Head Start, Parent Participation and Full Day options for parents in the community.

Kristie has found that working with children is one of the most rewarding and entertaining jobs, as she is able to see the children learn and grow socially, emotionally and educationally, enabling them to have a positive start for their educational journey.

If a child feels safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings and grow.
— Alfie Kohn

Gracie Degnan, Poway Unified School District - San Diego

Gracie Degnan, Poway Unified School District - San Diego

Gracie Degnan was born and raised in San Diego, CA. In 2001, Gracie had the privilege to start her journey working with students in Poway Unified School District’s after school program - Extended Student Services (ESS). What initially started as her “college job” quickly became her passion and a lifelong commitment to youth. She often says that this profession chose her. Gracie is so grateful for the opportunity to work with elementary aged students and their families every day. Hey after school programs help shape student’s character and are the building blocks for emotional and social development – it often starts in the programs that support them daily. Gracie believes that they have a great responsibility and amazing opportunity to help their students navigate through the most precious of educational years.

Gracie graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Sociology. She has been married for 6 years and has a vivacious three-year old daughter, Presley. Gracie loves music, reading and spending quality time with her family at the beach or at home together enjoying a homemade meal.

The more we know, the better we do
— Unknown