By Jan Santopietro
Special to The SUN
The Archuleta County Education Center (ACEC) is pleased to announce that it has completed its search for the executive director of Wings Early Childhood Center.
The ACEC has hired Dennis Bissmeyer to serve in this capacity commencing immediately. Bissmeyer and his wife, Gloria, an elementary school counselor, have had their home in Pagosa Springs since 1989.
Having the distinction of being the first male to major and graduate in child development at San Diego State College, Bissmeyer has gained a practitioner’s skill set and perspective on the developmental stages of learning and behaviors in children.
His knowledge and application of early childhood is wrapped around the philosophical models of Reggio Emilia, Piaget and similar educational concepts. This foundation in child development has been instrumental in the creation of curriculum and programs of instruction that are brain-based, experiential, authentic and inquiry-oriented. Two such programs he founded — ABC Preschool (Acceptance, Belonging, Community) and Dream Weavers Enterprises (Students Working and Learning Together) — were recognized as state sites for excellence in Arizona and Oregon. Moving individuals, parents, teachers, systems and organizations toward meeting the unique needs of the “whole” child has been a driving theme throughout his career.
While working on his doctoral degree in organizational development and leadership in schools, he came under the tutorage of Dr. Richard Schmuck, one of the world’s recognized leaders in organizational development in schools. Known as an educational practitioner with vision, Bissmeyer has applied his experience and training to help people work together while developing cohesive, student-centered schools and programs that can positively change the lives of children, especially for young children.
Bissmeyer’s leadership style could best be described as humanistic and facilitative. He believes in empowering staff through horizontal leadership and creating systems and procedures that best support that model. Bissmeyer does this through establishing cohesive trust and respect by guiding and providing support on five levels: relationships, organizational, communication, systemic, and professional training and development. He employs a repertoire of team-building skills and expertise that, through the years, has helped guide and develop strategic plans, organized and facilitated school retreats, and presented a myriad of training workshops nationally and internationally to teachers, parents and community leaders.
Bissmeyer has had the unique opportunity of having worked in school systems both stateside and internationally. As a result of these experiences, Bissmeyer’s trademark as a leader is facilitating development of teachers’, parents’, and school boards’ own capacity to collaborate, design and implement innovations and programs they otherwise would not have been capable of doing.
The ACEC is on track to open Wings in the fall of 2019 under Bissmeyer’s leadership. If you have young children ages 1-5 and would like to add your name to the pre-enrollment “interest list,” please email Jan Santopietro at firstname.lastname@example.org. Parents will be notified about the official registration process at a later date.