February 2020 - Donald Trujillo

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

February 2020

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight.  Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind!

This month we are featuring Donald Trujillo, High School Principal in Mesa County School District D-51.

Career Highlights & Education


  • Adams State University- Alamosa, CO  
  • B.A. Psychology Sociology emphasis is Social Work : Education 1993
  • M.A. Secondary School Counseling CACREP certification 1995
  • M.A. Educational Administration 2002


  • Principal, Mesa County School District 51, R-5 High School 2013- Present
  • Intervention/Expulsion Coordinator, Mesa County Valley School District 51 2009-2013
  • Assistant Principal, Grand Junction High School, 2005-2009
  • Assistant Principal, Grand Mesa Middle School, 2004-2005

What is exciting about my job?
The most exciting part of this role is witnessing the success and smiles on learners’ faces when they become “ready” to learn.  I am relentlessly and unapologetically learner centered. My past six years as principal of R-5 High School have been spent transforming and implementing Personalized Competency Based Education.  I am continually and passionately looking at systematic transformations to address the whole learner and develop learner agency. I am committed to a system of learning, where each student is ready to begin life at graduation.  Our new school redesign focuses on meaningful careers, project based learning, and social emotional standards. We have abandoned a traditional system of discipline, where students are punished, in favor of a restorative practice model, where we are developing a culture of healing.  We also have the largest Aquaponics and grow facility on the Western Slope of Colorado, which learners have designed, built, and managed. Through this program, our learners are able to grow, literally, tons of produce that end up in our school cafeterias, restaurants, and community members’ tables

Words from a consejero/a. 
I have had many positive influences in my life; namely athletes, friends, teachers, community members, and family.  On the same note, I have had the most wonderful, loving, compassionate mother who has been a tremendous influence in my life.  She raised seven of her own children, as well as several others, by herself. She taught me love is essential and persistence is indispensable.  

While I was growing up, we were in economic poverty; however, my mom was rich in love and wisdom.  I owe both my academic success and my leadership qualities as a school principal to the foundation formed by my mom.  I saw her struggles being a single parent. I felt the frustration of poverty. As a young boy, I would be ashamed of the houses my family and I lived in. I was embarrassed to take my friends to see my world.  

Amazingly, my mom taught me to stand tall and proud.  She would tell me, “We are all just human beings, and we are equal in God’s eyes.”  She would say, “Son, you can be anything in life.” These words may not appear profound, but she meant them and believes them to this day.  Love is essential and persistence is indispensable.  

I have been blessed to have a mom with a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love!

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . .
I am an avid outdoor enthusiast.  I enjoy bike riding, golfing, camping, hiking, and fishing.

CO-ALAS is a professional education association that advocates for the continued development and placement of Latino/Latina administrators who are committed to quality public education for all students.


PO Box 13109
Denver, CO 80201