Darla Baquedano

Partnership Microschooling Field Coordinator


Darla's 25-year educational journey began as a classroom teacher and evolved into coaching as a master teacher, serving n leadership roles as an Assistant Principal, and Principal of PK-8 schools in Phoenix, AZ. Currently, Darla serves as the Director of Education Services for Spark Community Schools. Fluent in Spanish with specialized endorsements in bilingual/multicultural education and early childhood literacy, her lifelong dedication to education began when, on her first day of kindergarten, she declared her ambition to become a teacher—a dream she relentlessly pursued. Holding a Master’s in Education Administration from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Northern Arizona University, her expertise is a fusion of passion and formal training in specialized fields.

Darla’s educational career is marked by remarkable achievements. Notably, Darla received the 2021 WestEd Outstanding Principal of the Year award for her transformative leadership. As principal, Darla worked hard to increase student enrollment and achievement. Under her guidance, the school’s letter grade increased from a "D" to a "B", a testament to her commitment to academic excellence and student development. Her innovative approach introduced a Dual Language (English/Spanish) Academy and specialized programs for diverse student needs, fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment. Darla has championed social-emotional interventions for at-risk students and provided
professional development in various pedagogical areas, underlining her commitment to nurturing both educators and learners.

In her pivotal role at Spark, Darla shapes both short and long-term educational strategies, collaborating extensively with the executive teams at Goodwill of Northern and Central Arizona and one-n-ten Phoenix to shape the short and long-term strategic vision of Spark Community Schools. Her role involves defining education policies, forging strategic alliances and partnerships, and amplifying Spark's education capabilities locally and nationally. Darla also oversees the day to day operations of the Spark classroom at one-n-ten.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Darla finds joy as a licensed Zumba instructor, residing in Phoenix with her husband, and celebrating her adult children's successes. Darla eagerly anticipates forging connections within the education community. Her unwavering passion continues to drive her mission of nurturing student success and fostering enriching learning environments.