Meet our St. Thomas-St. John Deputy Superintendent
Desha S. Powell has been a member of the Virgin Islands Department of Education for the past twenty-two years. She began her career as a Speech Therapist in the department. After seven years, and a renewed interest in differentiated learning, educational leadership and a Master’s Degree in Education, she pursued much-needed classroom experience and a teaching career in Special Education. Her tenure as a Special Education teacher in the inclusion and resource setting in the Virgin Islands and in Georgia allowed her to provide valuable and varied learning experiences for children with and without disabilities and other special populations. She believes that all children possess special and unique gifts for learning and can achieve successful outcomes in different ways. While teaching and making connections between data and decisions that to better support students’ needs she pursued a second Masters Degree in Educational Research. After teaching a cadre of remarkable students, Ms. Powell embarked on her first full-time leadership position at the University of the Virgin Islands for the Virgin Islands Center for Excellence in Development Disabilities (VIUCEDD). As the Program Coordinator, she developed, planned and organized a wealth of programs and activities to inform and assist persons with disabilities. During this time her desire to lead education programs only increased. She then returned to the Virgin Islands Department of Education as a Federal Grants Manager where she was able to work in a leadership capacity in the area of grants management for more than six years. During that time she also served as the Acting Director and Assistant Director. This position allowed her to gain knowledge in financial management, and increase her ability to manage and monitor complex projects and gain a deeper understanding of the alignment of resources needed to support desired student outcomes.
She has always believed that service should be about others and not oneself and that it is better to give than to receive. Her most recent role has been serving as the assistant principal of Ninth Grade Success Academy at the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School (IEKHS) where she has worked to organize a learning environment that supports ninth grade success and includes service opportunities for ninth graders. She believed that teaching students about service helps them to develop a sense of community as well as characteristics that will assist them in their future endeavors. She has also served as the Assistant Principal at the Lockhart Elementary School and as the Principal of the Adult Continuing Education (ACE) Night School Diploma Program. Ms. Powell was as also the Assistant Principal of the Summer Bridge Program at IEKHS, Director of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation Summer Program and the Assistant Director of the Dolphin 21st Century Community Learning Center Program. Holding various leadership positions have led to a wealth of additional experiences, skills, and life lessons. Her role as Deputy Superintendent will be to facilitate and enhance programming that supports achievement opportunities, guidance and support for ALL learners allowing for a successful transition to college and careers.