Dr. David Arencibia Named Top U.S. Principal
The Walden University Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership Program Graduate Finds Success in Colleyville, Texas
If there’s a perfect personification of Colleyville Middle School in Colleyville, TX, it’s David Arencibia, EdD. The ’13 Walden Doctor of Education (EdD) in Teacher Leadership graduate is humble, hardworking, and infectiously passionate about his students and their potential. A rising leader in education, Dr. Arencibia is also catching the attention of his profession.
In December 2021 , just eight years after earning his doctorate from Walden, Arencibia was named 2022 Texas Principal of the Year by the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP). TASSP recognizes exemplary principals and assistant principals from the 20 regional Education Service Centers in the state. This year, he received the title of top three finalist for National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Both successes he attributes to his “village” at Colleyville Middle School.
“It’s a rigorous process but it’s a representation of everyone,” Dr. Arencibia says of the NASSP award. “My school was my support system throughout the entire journey because this was an amazing thing for our community and our entire district, not only myself. I loved being able to represent them and everyone else who’s had a major impact on me.”
Finding Support through Community
When reflecting on his start at Colleyville, Dr. Arencibia says he had a strategic vision from the very beginning. “It was already this excellent, high performing school. When I came in, it was about taking this great campus and continuing to elevate it to be one of the best and widely recognized as such. I really felt we had that potential.”
With the support of his leadership team, staff, and students, Dr. Arencibia secured state recognition for Colleyville within three years and national recognition within five. “Ensuring that all our core values are being implemented with the students and finding effective ways to involve them, whether it be gamification or Parent Teacher Association events, we really saw our numbers go through the ceiling.”
Dr. Arencibia also gives a nod to his online doctoral program experience at Walden University.
“Beyond my campus, I’m partnering with different people across the country. Walden University gave me perspective on how to receive different outlooks, approach my own, and execute my business as an educational leader.” He notes the closeness he still has with much of his cohort from the program today, and how Walden’s affirmation of his social change ideals has heavily influenced the core values he’s embedding in the culture at Colleyville.
From Humble Beginnings
When asked if this is where he thought he would be in his profession, Dr. Arencibia reflects on an inspiring journey.
The child of Mexican and Cuban immigrants, Dr. Arencibia’s parents migrated to the U.S. at a very young age. They had no formal education beyond the 9th grade, so when it came to things like the SAT and attending a university or college, Dr. Arencibia had to figure it out on his own.
“I didn’t even know what an SAT was until my senior year of high school,” he says.
Despite living on his own during his senior year of high school—even experiencing a brief period of homelessness—Dr. Arencibia was committed to furthering his education. With the help of a college recruiter in Arkansas, he was able to gain entry to Harding University. He would later go on to earn his master’s degree from Texas A&M University and a doctorate degree from Walden.
“I always wanted to emulate the individuals who made the biggest impact on me—the teachers and coaches. I’m grateful to be in that position today.”
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