Dennis Price, director of special education for the Calexico Unified School District, believes in going above and beyond in education to help other schools. This has led him to participate with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in visiting schools in California, out of state and, most recently, American Samoa to help schools with accreditation.
Price, 46, was personally invited by the executive director of WASC in May of last year to chair a visiting committee to Samoa, a U.S. territory located in the South Pacific Ocean, to work on its accreditation. Price and the committee visited Tafuna High School, one of the largest highs schools in Samoa.
Calexico school administrator David Price recently traveled to American Samoa as part of a program that helps high schools receive accreditation.
Photo Credit: Mario Conde
“I have served WASC well and in response they asked me to serve on committees that are more challenging. So to be asked by WASC to chair a visiting committee in a foreign country, it’s not very common and is quite an honor,” Price said.
Price has participated in several WASC visiting committees over the last 10 years and said that the experience of being part of it and working with other professionals helps him bring that experience back to Calexico schools. The role of the visiting committee is not to evaluate the school but to make sure schools are achieving specified goals, Price said.
Price decided to join the WASC team years ago during his time as a teacher so he could gain experience in school accreditation. Price said going to Samoa was the greatest educational experience that he has been part of in his 23 years of experience. Price said Tafuna High School students are very dedicated and their administration works hard to provide them with the best education possible.
The visit lasted three days but since flights to Samoa are limited, the group stayed for a week. Price took advantage of the time and hiked to the highest mountain on the island and said it provided an amazing view.
Price is familiar with far away locales as he moved constantly when he was younger due to his father’s military service. The family lived in Hawaii, San Diego, Spain, Scotland, Connecticut and finally El Centro where his father was stationed at the Naval Air Facility El Centro. That became the family’s permanent home and he later attended Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, majoring in liberal studies with a physical science minor.
As a father of three, Price said he feels it’s important schools provide the services students need and deserve to achieve their goals and become productive citizens.
“Every student deserves and opportunity to be successful in life and chose their own path and so the position I have at the moment gives another platform for me to allow that to happen,” Price said
He added, “Having served other schools in my participation with WASC I can say that the students of Calexico are extremely hardworking. They are extremely appreciative. They are the type students that if you encourage them to take one step forward, they will take many more as a result.”