Directors' Activities

Updated June 12, 2017

Donald E. Leisey, Ed.D. Appointed to Board at
West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Donald E. Leisey, Executive Director of the International Academy for Educational Entrepreneurship www.edentrepreneurs.org, has been appointed by Christopher Fiorentino, President of West Chester University of Pennsylvania to the Advisory Board for the College of Education and Social Work. Leisey continues to serve on the Foundation Board of Trustees at West Chester University. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for AYUSA International, a San Francisco non-profit, promoting global learning and leadership through cultural exchange.

Dr. Leisey, served in the public schools as a teacher and principal, in Pennsylvania, a principal with the Department of Defense Overseas Dependent Schools in Japan, and was business manager and superintendent of San Rafael City Schools in the 1970s. Since retirement from government schools in 1979, he served on the Board of Councilors at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education, was a founding member of the 3E Institute at West Chester University, and a board member for the Family Service Agency of Marin County. He has been an educational entrepreneur owning proprietary schools, educational resource stores, leasing educational facilities and other educational endeavors. He has taught in the graduate program at two universities and is the co-author of a book, The Educational Entrepreneur: Making a Difference.

Leisey received a bachelor's degree from West Chester University, a master's degree from Villanova University and a doctorate and certificate in school business administration from the University of Southern California. Don and wife Patricia are the proud parents of two daughters and grandparents of four grandchildren.


Dear Peter and Terry,

Thank you for the opportunity to tour Kittredge School of San Francisco on Tuesday, January 17, 2012. Wow!! In the '60s there was a slogan - SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL! I must confess that at the time I was not impressed because I thought economy of scale made a difference. As I have matured and have taken a closer look at numbers, I am now convinced that smaller numbers do make a difference in the success of an educational program as evidenced by what I have observed at Kittredge School of San Francisco. You have capitalized on Kittredge School's limited capacity to create a community where each student's educational and social needs are known personally and the faculty gets to know and work effectively with the student and his/her family.

You are to be commended for the work you have done in creating an outstanding school. Kittredge School's success is a tribute to the administration, faculty, staff and parents working effectively and harmoniously together for the benefit of its students. The longevity, dedication, passion, caring attitude, tenacity, and creativity at Kittredge School of San Francisco provides an outstanding program for its students.

Over the years, I have seen parts of schools that impressed me, but never an entire school that presents itself academically and socially as well as Kittredge does. I have always judged the effectiveness of schools as to whether I would want my own children to attend them - my kids are too old for me to make that determination now, but I would be thrilled if my four grandchildren had the opportunity to attend Kittredge School.

Kittredge School reflects favorably on your leadership and educational expertise. From the time one enters your school, an "I care" attitude of adults and students is prevalent throughout the school. You have put the educational mosaic together!

Thank you for letting me observe your outstanding program. It was a day that refreshed my passion and hope for an educational model that can and should be used for all children.

Donald E. Leisey, Ed.D.


President Weisenstein, members of the Board of Trustees, Deans, Faculty members, special guests, parents, friends and most importantly, graduates. It is an extreme pleasure and honor for me to be with you today.

When President Weisenstein asked me to make this presentation, numerous fond memories of my four years at West Chester raced through my mind. They were certainly four of the best years of my life and as you get further away from this graduation, you will probably say they were also your best years.

It has been a long time since I sat where you are today, but over the years, even though I have lived far from this campus, serving on the WCU Foundation Board of Trustees and the Advisory Committee for the Institute for Educational Excellence and Entrepreneurship, has allowed me to stay abreast of the wonderful things that are happening in the academic program as well as the improvements to campus facilities and the infrastructure at WCU.

Thanks to the outstanding leadership, and excellent dedicated faculty, West Chester University enjoys a reputation as a first class institution of higher education.

West Chester University, like many public institutions, is receiving only a fraction of the current operating funds from the state's budget, about 25%. This percentage will probably drop further in this prolonged economic downturn. Thanks to the financial support of alumni, faculty members, parents of students, businesses and friends of the university, WCU has continued to maximize its resources in providing an outstanding education for its students.  Read More...

Dr. Don Leisey Receives Service Awards From Two Universities in 2011

In December, Dr. Don Leisey, superintendent of San Rafael City Schools from 1973-79, was presented the President's Medallion for "Outstanding and Exceptional Service" at the mid-year graduation of West Chester University of Pennsylvania where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1959. After receiving the award, Leisey gave the commencement address to the graduates. In addition to service in various capacities at West Chester University, Dr. Leisey is a charter trustee of the West Chester University's Foundation and assisted in creating the Institute for Educational Excellence and Entrepreneurship (3E) where he continues to serve on its Advisory Board. Leisey previously received the West Chester University Distinguished Alumnus Award and the 3E's Institute Founder's Award.

Dr. Leisey is also active in various activities at the University of Southern California where he received a doctorate in education in 1973. Leisey serves on the Board of Councillors for the Rossier School of Education and is active in the alumni association at USC. In September he received the USC Alumni Association's Widney Alumni House Award in recognition of "Loyalty, Support and Dedication" to USC.

The following article, THE HABITS OF EDUPRENEURSHIP, is co-authored by Chuck and his close friend Dr. Arthur Costa. These two long time educators met in the early 1960's when Art was the educational representative for NASA and Chuck was the assistant superintendent of the Kings County Superintendent of Schools in Hanford California. Art had just joined NASA after serving as a Consultant in the Los Angeles Superintendent of School Office. His specialty was Science Education.

Chuck and Art became lasting friends and were amongst the first Californian's receiving individualized and personal introduction to the work of Dr. J. Richard Suchman. In fact, Chuck and Art were sent throughout California by the offices of the NATIONAL DEFENSE EDUCATION ACT (NDEA) to introduce Dr. Suchman's program INQUIRY TRAINING to schools and districts.

The friendship never ended. While Art moved on to Sacramento State University, Chuck ended working with his partner Dr. Donald Leisey in the development of several independent elementary schools and neither stopped creating a variety of educational programs focused on LEARNING.

Art has helped establish such programs including COGNITIVE COACHING and HABITS OF THE MIND. Chuck has worked to create INNOVATIVE ASSESSMENT and CRITICAL LINKS. While Art and Chuck kept in contact and met often over the years, this short article is the first time they worked formally together since the 1970s when they cooperated on projects for SCIENCE RESEARCH ASSOCIATES (SRA) and other publications and workshops.

This article is but a glimpse of what they are working on today. What it has meant to both Art and Chuck is the exciting realization that after many years, many experiences, many changes they have ended up with that very same "reason for being"---LEARNING.   Read the Article

Dr. Don Leisey Receives Award from
West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Donald E. Leisey, Ed.D. of San Rafael, California was presented the FOUNDERS AWARD by the West Chester University 3E Institute at the 7th Annual Business and Education Leadership Forum on April 16, 2009, at The Union League of Philadelphia. In presenting the award, it was noted that, “Don Leisey is one of the visionary educators who conceived the model of entrepreneurial education that the Institute for Educational Excellence and Entrepreneurship has developed and imparted to more than a thousand educators and student teachers. He is a founding member of the 3E Advisory Council, as well as a stalwart supporter of the Institute and advocate of entrepreneurial education.”

Speech to Faculty of Chapman University, Fairfield, California Campus

By Donald E. Leisey, Ed.D.

It is a pleasure for Chuck and me to be here today. Hopefully, we can make the next hour move rapidly for you and provide you with some provocative material to ponder.

Chuck and I have known each other for about 35 years. We met 70s when I was superintendent of San Rafael City Schools and Chuck was Director of Teacher Education at Dominican College of San Rafael, now Dominican University of California. Chuck placed student teachers in the San Rafael City Schools and invited me to teach graduate courses in school law, human resource management, and school finance at Dominican College. We have been involved in for-profit private schools and related real estate ventures. Chuck founded NIPSA, National Independent Schools Association, which is the trade association and accredits for-profit private schools. I was one of his original board members. Read More...

Alumni Profile: Don Leisey, Ed. D. '73

from The Magazine of the USC Rossier School of Education, page 43

For most of his professional life as a teacher, superintendent, owner of private schools and as an educational entrepreneur, Donald Leisey tried to improve education. He continues to pursue that goal, but in perhaps the most unusual way yet. Leisey (Ed.D ’73) is developing a project called “educational intrapreneurship” which calls upon public school systems to help all employees advance creative ideas that aid learning. “We have developed a process for prospective educational ‘intrapreneurs’ within the schools,” Leisey says, “that is similar to what entrepreneurs do in the private sector to get ideas off the ground.” Read More...

Dr. Don Leisey's Speech To University of Southern California School Business Management Program
Sacramento Cohort, May 5, 2006
Orange County Cohort, November 17, 2006

It is a real pleasure for me to be able to address you this evening. I would like to talk with you about how the school business management certificate program influenced my career, the book I co-authored about educational entrepreneurship, educational intrapreneurship, and some basic managerial techniques I have found helpful in both the public and private sectors. Read More...

Assessing Teaching And Learning

INNOVATIVE ASSESSMENT, Inc., a company organized to create new and exciting ways to collect behavioral data about teaching and learning, has "closed its doors". Chuck was one of the nine teachers and administrators who formed the company in the early 1990s. IA developed a very successful computer program that created a series of observation forms which made it possible to collect, organize and report data on such diverse and important behavioral skills such as CRITICAL THINKING, SOCIAL PARTICIPATION, VALUING, and TEACHER-LEARNING INTERACTION.

The last one, "The Teacher Learning Matrix" is still in use in the El Dorado Office of Education, Charter Community School, in Placerville, California. The TEACHER LEARNING MATRIX has been developed over the past 10 years under the direction of Ms. Marta Reyes. It has been her constant belief that the most important way to bring both change and stability to a specific educational mission is through the self-evaluation of the staff in relation to that mission. The IA program provided the template on which Reyes and her staff, along with the help of Chuck Lavaroni and another former IA Director, Peter Beldon, have built their Assessment and Evaluation Program. Chuck and Pete are currently working with Reyes and her staff to complete a Television CD that can be used for the continued training of new staff members as well as to disseminate the workings of the program to others.

At a time when so much money and energy is being spent on Standardized Testing, this completely different emphasis on assessment and self evaluation is seen as great import to Reyes and the staff. Obviously, Chuck and Pete agree whole-heartedly.

Intrapreneurism In Kentfield

Directors Leisey and Lavaroni are agreed that for entrepreneurism to really occur within the schools and protect the teacher or administrator who test their entrepreneurial wings, there must be a recognizable organizational support system in place. Without that system it is very easy for the entrepreneur to become a target for jealousy, frustration, and distrust. This is especially true on those occasions where the efforts of the entrepreneur are in conflict with the mission and expectations of the school or district. We call that support environment an INTRAPRENEURIAL one. People who develop a product, program, technology, or service to improve learning within that system are INTRAPRENEURS. The intrapreneur in Kentfield is Superintendent Bob Caine. Working with the Board and his staff for the past 5 years Bob has developed a total school district Character Education Program. This program includes the use of a self-evaluation, assessment rubric developed to insure student participation in awareness and reflection of their own character behaviors. This rubric has been presented at two California School Boards Association conferences as well at other local workshops and seminars. Chuck Lavaroni has been an active participant in this project since its inception. He along with two former Tamalpais High School School Board Members, Sue Loar and Ellen Rosen, have been instrumental in the continued development and improvement of the rubric. Bob Caine can be reached at 415-925-2233 for further information and copies of the rubric.