DR. DON LEISEY'S REMARKS TO MID-YEAR GRADUATES AT
WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY DECEMBER 18, 2011
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
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
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,
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
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.
West Chester University's Institute for
Educational Excellence and Entrepreneurship
The Academy is proud to have had some influence in the formulation of West Chester University
of Pennsylvania's Institute for Educational Excellence and Entrepreneurship (3E Institute)
which became operational last fall. According to Pat Roberts, Executive Director, "The 3E
Institute will serve as a global center for identifying, supporting and mentoring entrepreneurial
educators." Dr. Don Leisey, represents the International Academy for Educational
Entrepreneurship on the advisory board for the 3E Institute.
Leisey Serves on University Boards
IAEE Director, Dr. Don Leisey is a member of the Board of Councillors for the University of
Southern California Rossier School of Education, and the Foundation Board of West Chester
University of Pennsylvania.
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.