May Message from Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux

Dear Parents, Community Members and Colleagues,

I have always been known as a “glass full” person. Not a quarter or a half full, but completely full. What that means is, I am the eternal optimist and always seeking positive solutions to situations. In these days of uncertainly, one thing we know is that we can choose our attitudes. Although we recognize things are challenging for everyone, I want to share some personal wisdom I hope will be helpful. Each day, I think of at least five things I am grateful for. These include my health, my family, my work, my friends, my faith, and where I live.  The gratitude extends to what I view around me as I see how people have been bringing out the best in each other by virtually sharing humor, caring deeds, and connections.

In addition to the educational instruction that we are providing these days to students, we are also checking in on their health, well being, and attitudes, as part of our social and emotional curriculum. With Shelter at Home in place, we need to be sure our students have caring adults in their lives, including our school personnel. A vital part of this is the Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life conference and movement that was started over four years ago by Gina Godbehere and myself.

Due to the success of the conference and the follow-up, we have had many requests for information about the history, how-to’s, event preparations, resources, public relations and communication, student reflections, and more. To this end, we decided to put together a book so others could learn and benefit from our work. This is a collaboration from many people who have helped to make this conference successful, and generously volunteered their time and expertise. They have poured their knowledge, heart and soul into a cause they deeply believe in, to personalize and sustain the learning for our students and adults who have participated. It is heartwarming to know that over 400,000 people have benefitted from the knowledge they have gained.

I wanted to share a couple of letters we have received from students, based on their experiences. Upon reading them, you will see the impact the conference has had not just for the day, but for a lifetime, as they put their learning into action.

Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life

"Is a group to what is right
Actions and words can hurt someone
But we are one for all, and all for one
We are here to make a difference
We hope that you do the same
Let’s all make a difference

I wanted to join this group because I like to help people. I remember a time when I went into a classroom a student came up to me and said, “There is this this boy that said, no one likes me.” I thought that many people may feel like this and I would like to help and make a difference in their lives by supporting people and encouraging them to realize that there is a lot more to life than many things. Our leaders have taught us many things. I hope I can do the same for other people.”

- Student participant

Become a Member of Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life

“I was in Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life last year. I really enjoyed this after school club. I love how I got to personally talk to the kids in their classrooms. I loved feeling like I’m helping my school become a better place. My favorite part of this club was knowing that there are people I am helping. So, if anyone wants to become a part of Speak Up, Stand Up, Save a Life, I strongly encourage you to do so.  A personal story that I have is that one time a little girl in 2nd grade told me that she was being bullied by another girl and she asked for my help. I told her I would speak to her teacher to try and help her. She eventually got the help she needed and is doing well. It makes me happy to know that I helped just a single person. As a team we can impact so many people!”

- Student participant

Let’s continue to be connected and appreciate the gifts we have in our lives. We will be sure and let you know when the book is published so you can be part of the continued success of this movement. We would love you to stay connected with us through our website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Together we will get through this and be stronger than ever. Remember, Pendergast is the district that believes in YOU!

Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux
Proud Pendergast Superintendent

About Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux

Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux was born in New York, N.Y. where she attended elementary school and two years of high school. Her family then moved to Isabela, Puerto Rico where she completed high school and college.

Lily's educational preparation includes degrees in Elementary Education (BA), Educational Leadership and Supervision (MA and PHD), all from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a BA in Business Administration from the University of Puerto Rico. Her experiences are varied and include serving as a teacher, elementary school principal, middle school dean of students, assistant superintendent, adjunct university professor, English as a Second Language Instructor, director of religious education at a military base, business owner, and community volunteer. Lily owned a technology company for six years before returning to her true love; education.

Dr. DeBlieux was appointed as the first bi-lingual, Latina Superintendent of the Pendergast Elementary School District in May 2014. She feels privileged to work in an environment with dedicated individuals and a Governing Board that supports "empowering excellence and success."

In her spare time, Lily loves to spend time with family, read, travel, and serve her community. She is active in many community organizations including The Hispanic Leadership Institute, Glendale West Rotary, Leadership West Class XXII, City of Phoenix Youth and Education Commission, Glendale Chamber of Commerce and others. Lily is sought after as a motivational speaker and, in 2015, she founded the organization Si no yo, quién? LLC to provide training to empower women to reach new heights in their personal and professional lives.