2018-2019 Superintendents to Watch-Scott Bailey

Scott Bailey 
Desert Sands Unified School District
La Quinta, Calif.

Scott Bailey hit the ground running when he began his superintendency, leading his district through a four-step process: “LOOK, LISTEN, LEARN, and LEAD." 

The first three steps included 35 site visits, 800 classroom visits, various division and department tours, and numerous community interactions. Additionally, the results of a Thoughtexchange survey with parents, staff, students and community members, helped to form an action plan, which is available in both English and Spanish. The Superintendent Action Plan encompasses 45 objectives and represents the final step, LEAD.

A firm believer of the concept of management-by-walking-around, Bailey created the video series “Not So Undercover Sup,” in partnership with a community business, Digicom Learning. The series celebrates the work of employees who are not typically visible to the public eye. High school students who are part of the district’s Career Technical Education (CTE) IMPACT pathway program facilitate all aspects of the video production process.

An avid Twitter user, Bailey is famous for his selfies at school events—most notably during graduations—and students vie to get in the pictures. Those photos are shared on the district’s Facebook page, website and their quarterly e-magazine, The Beacon.  He is also known for his signature event, Bailey & Coffee, where he communicates face-to-face with local constituents. As colleagues note, “While Bailey is all in when it comes to technology, he never forgets the importance and value of one-to one communication.”  

Whether serving as a community board member for United Way of the Desert, actively participating in the California State School Board Association, sending his SuperSeconds electronic message to staff or taking a selfie with a student, Bailey’s open leadership style makes him a not-so-undercover Superintendent to Watch.