Press releases are posted on as a free community service.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District’s Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the appointment of two new district administrators.

The district is promoting long-time SBUSD employee Daisy Ochoa to Director of Early Childhood and After School Programs, while also welcoming Denise Alvarado as Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction.

Ms. Ochoa has already shifted into her new role, while Ms. Alvarado will begin work on July 18, 2022.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have Ms. Ochoa and Ms. Alvarado as leaders in our district. Their heart, knowledge and experience will be key for our children — from TK through 12th grade,” said Dr. Hilda Maldonado, the district’s superintendent.

“Ms. Ochoa has earned this promotion, her loyalty to not only the district, but to her lifelong commitment to our community is inspiriational and aspirational at the same time. And Ms. Alvarado’s desire to work at Santa Barbara Unified was tangible, and her experience, particularly with English Learners, will help us continue to strive to serve all students equitably.”

Here’s a deeper look at each of their careers to date:

Daisy Ochoa, Director of Early Childhood and After School Programs

Ms. Ochoa has been a staple of Santa Barbara Unified’s growing early childhood and after-school programs for the past seven years, spending time as an After School/Expanded Learning Program Coordinator and, most recently, the Early Childhood Education Administrator.

Daisy Ochoa | Credit: Courtesy

As the Early Childhood Education Administrator, Ms. Ochoa has led, organized and coordinated the programs funded by the Early Education and Support and the Expanded Learning Divisions of the California Department of Education; establish and maintain related timelines and priorities; manage programs and activities to meet the goals and objectives of Educational Services; assure that related activities comply with established standards, requirements, laws, codes, regulations, and policies.

Prior to joining the early childhood staff, Ms. Ochoa spent five years as a 1st and 3rd grade teacher at McKinley Elementary, preceded by being a Dual Language Immersion teacher at Cesar Chavez Charter School in Santa Barbara.

Ms. Ochoa is a Santa Barbara native, graduating from Monroe Elementary, La Cumbre Junior High and San Marcos High School.

She is also a graduate of UCSB, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters in Education, along with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

Through her own experiences, as a native and an educator, Ms. Ochoa is well aware of the impact that early education has on children of all backgrounds.

“Education does not begin at the age five and a child’s day doesn’t end at 3 p.m. It’s been proven that children that are given early childhood education, are better equipped to be more successful when they enter kindergarten, and once they enter the school system it’s important that they have a safe and enriching environment where they can continue to be supported and cared for after school,” Ms. Ochoa said. 

“I’ve had a passion for giving back to my community and ensuring networks of support for our families. It’s an honor to now lead as the Director of Early Childhood and After School Programs and provide high quality preschool and after school programs for the children of Santa Barbara.”

Denise Alvarado, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction

Ms. Alvarado joins SBUSD as an academic and systems leader with 19 years of experience as a math teacher, dean of academics, assistant principal and principal across TK-12, a rare attribute for most administrators.

For the past three years, she has been the principal at Oxford Preparatory Academy (a TK-8 school) in Mission Viejo. Prior to that, she was an assistant principal at Magnolia High School and Brookhurst Junior High, both of which are in Anaheim.

Denise Alvarado | Credit: Courtesy

She’s also been the dean of academics at La Habra High School in La Habra and Sunny Hills High School in Fullerton.

Throughout her career, Ms. Alvarado has been an advocate for English Learners, leading teams of administrators, teachers, counselors and instructional aides in properly placing and establishing systems to support English Learners through school master schedules for current and subsequent years.

A primary focus in finding success in this work has been a commitment to parent engagement, including a program she started at Brookhurst called “Disciplina Positiva” that included parent workshops, monthly parent nights and parent learning walks.

She sees similar opportunities with Santa Barbara Unified.

“As a servant leader, it is an honor to serve the Santa Barbara Unified School District. My core values of integrity, teamwork, service, growth and leadership are aligned with the district’s mission and vision. I am impressed and inspired by SBUSD efforts towards diversity, equity, inclusion, and access,” said Ms. Alvarado.

“I will actively work with teachers, support staff, administrators, parents and community partners on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps to meet the needs of all students. I will lead with compassion and courage to provide a high quality education in an equitable, nurturing, and student centered environment where students reach their full potential.”

Ms. Alvarado has a Master of Science degree in Education Administration from Cal State Fullerton, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UC Davis.

She was twice recognized by the Orange County Department of Education for Leadership and Outstanding Service for English Learners, while also named Teacher of the Year at La Sierra High School in 2008. 

In 2003, Ms. Alvarado was named UC Davis’ 14th Annual Undergraduate Research Scholar.

She is also a board member of the Extraordinary Lives Foundation, which supports and improves children’s mental health and wellness.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.