Sandra Jewett – SVL Cultura Ambassador


Good morning.  We continue with the introduction of our next SVL Cultura Ambassador.

Dr. Sandra Jewett is a highly accomplished and successful senior executive and educator. She has dedicated her entire career to improve and provide educational equity and equal access to underserved and/or underrepresented students both in the United States and abroad.


Sandra has taught at all three levels in K-12 education and possesses both teaching and administrative credentials. In addition, she holds multiple post-graduate degrees in education, organizational leadership and theology. During her tenure in public, charter and private education, Sandra served as a bilingual teacher, dean, vice principal, principal, director, assistant superintendent, vice president for educational services and adjunct college professor in the College of Education. She has extensive background and knowledge on increasing student achievement through her support of teachers, coaches, and administrators. Because of her commitment to systemic change, her doctoral dissertation focused on organizational leadership specifically on how to create and establish meaningful professional development systems for urban principals that provide excellent instructional and managerial leadership that lead whole school improvement efforts. Her expertise lies on mentoring and coaching, blended learning, curriculum, instruction, language acquisition and school administration. In fact, Sandra’s track record is evidenced by the substantial gain in student achievement that each of her schools attained, including being recognized as National Blue Ribbon and California Distinguished Schools, and Title I Achievement Awards.

Sandra Jewett - SVL Cultura AmbassadorIn her role as Executive Vice President, Chief Learning Officer and Chief Executive Officer, for international for-profit companies, she has been able to expand her vision and commitment across the globe, whereby bringing education via blended learning platforms in an array of partnerships and collaborations with foreign governments, universities, and enterprises.


Sandra has developed materials and workshops specifically on English Language Development and has published interdisciplinary instructional materials that support 5-12 grade students and teachers. Likewise, she has published materials to support principals in their responsibilities as managerial site leaders and in their fund development responsibilities. Most recently, her efforts were showcased in “Collaboration and Peak Performance: A Multidisciplinary Perspective for Emerging Leaders”,which addressed effective strategies that support teaching and learning, that included data driven analysis, teacher feedback, and parent engagement. In an effort, to compliment her work on parent advocacy and involvement, Sandra published a hands-on book on how parents can be more meaningfully involved in their children’s academic and spiritual formation. To accompany such themes, she has been a guest speaker at the Schools of Education for Rutgers University, Santa Clara, Stanford, and the University of San Francisco, as well as at national and state educational conferences, and Spanish and Portuguese radio stations.


Sandra is very committed to community service and has served in a number of non-profit boards. Currently, she sits on the Library and Early Education Commission for the City of San Jose; Chairs the International Service Committee for the Downtown San Jose Rotary; and serves as Board President for Teatro Vision. In addition, she is a peer reviewer for the American Educational Research Association and sits in the educational committees for STEM and the 100 Women Foundation.


Hence, Sandra’s focus has revolved around the exciting opportunity of making a transformative difference in the lives of children and adults in the areas of education and health, as well as bringing cultural appreciation toward the Latino and Chicano culture in Silicon Valley. Moreover, because social justice is very important to Sandra, her Masters in Theology has allowed her the opportunity to actively support the empowerment of women. Her most recent theological publication was featured in the Journal of the Mercy Association in Scripture and Theology. She periodically is invited to speak at conventions and conferences, to discuss with mix groups, how faith and spirituality can serve as a symbol of liberation and empowerment.


In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and closest friends, traveling, genealogy and photography.


Cisco’s ERO Conexion & MESA partnership for students

On Friday, September 6th, 2013 Cisco’s Latino Employee Resource Organization (ERO), Conexion, had another first.  They partnered with an organization called MESA, Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement, here in San Jose.


MESA helps underprivileged college students in engineering majors by providing guidance & mentorship programs.  Conexion joined forces with MESA last spring and conducted a shadowing day at Cisco for 30 students who were then partnered with 30 Cisco mentors for a one year engagement.  One request that kept coming from the students was how to “get into Cisco”.



After a few conversations with Diversity Recruiting and University Recruiting, Conexion decided to host a recruiting day.  Conexion worked with the different business units to understand where the requisitions would be open and had the students apply ahead of time.



Anabelle Pinto, Director in Sports and Entertainment at Cisco, kicked off the day with some inspirational words to the students.  Cisco had 7 students interview for full time positions.  Two students interviewed for internships. Nine students, that do not yet qualify for either internships or full time positions, had mock interviews with Cisco employees.  The day ended with Rosie Cofre, ERO Strategic at Cisco, sharing her story about her challenges of growing up as a diverse person in the US.  It resonated well, and left everyone inspired!


This was the first time that an ERO was able to provide a diverse candidate pool to Cisco that resulted in interviews and hopefully in a few new hires for next summer!


About Conexion/MESA partnership:

Conexion sponsored the MESA Shadowing Day & Mentoring Journey originally on March 8th, 2013 at the San Jose Cisco offices. 

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) is nationally recognized for its innovative and effective academic development program.  This particular program is a partnership between MESA and Cisco to provide shadowing and mentoring opportunities for MESA higher education students interested in pursuing careers in technology.  To kick-off their experience, thirty students spent a half-day at Cisco, learning more about their technologies and solutions, meeting their individual mentors, shadowing their jobs, and then reflecting on the experience.  Thirty Cisco mentors were recruited through our partnership with the Employee Resource Groups at Cisco. 

Informal mentoring relationships between MESA students and Cisco employees will continue for a period of one year, where they will meet monthly to discuss student areas of study and interest, review areas of focus for the Cisco employee, and engage in coaching and mentoring discussions. 

The Future Silicon Valley Latina Coders

It is an early Saturday morning as I am driving, with my daughters, to one of the greatest cities in the country if not the world, San Francisco, for what will be their first experience as computer programmers at the event “Build A Webpage – in a Day”. Coding is a modern science but also an art.

I recall the countless times as a youth driving into the city with my father to work in his art gallery on Maiden Lane. Learning the ins and outs of art and acquiring an eye, over many years, of how to appreciate good art.

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The significance of this event on this particular Saturday in May was that young Silicon Valley Latinas from all corners of the Valley & Bay Area were able to express and create their dreams via the modern canvas – The Computer screen! Step by step they were guided through the process of drawing their topic on paper first so that they could see how it would appear on their computer screen and then the coding began step by step. Their fingers gliding over the keyboards as a painter glides the brush across the canvas. The painter’s canvas in this case was the screen showing the coding on the wall with the master painter at the back of the class typing in the instructions for the girls to follow and learn.

We are about technology

As Giovanni Rodriguez wrote in Forbes not to long ago “while disparities in education (STEM) and employment exist, the conventional wisdom obscures the reality that Latinos are an emerging force in technology” and this first experience for these young Latinas in Build A Webpage – in a Day presented by Black Girls Code in partnership with Latino Startup Alliance, MEDASF & Google for Entrepreneurs demonstrates the hunger that Latinas in this case have to leave their mark on this industry.

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After learning to code the entire day these young ladies, 59 of them, were able to build their webpages on fashion, animals, dolls, etc. showing us their youth and at the same time learning how to create and bring to life, via their modern canvas, their dreams.

As I took pictures of these young artists keying code on their modern canvases I wondered if this is what it would have been like 70+ years ago when Frida Kahlo began leaving her mark in the art world and now it was these young Latinas turn to leave their mark on this wonderful Valley & City.