Desert Sands's New and Recently Promoted Employees

New and Recently Promoted Employees

New and Recently Promoted Employees
Posted on 08/18/2021

As the new school year begins, new additions are added to the DSUSD family! 

Tamara Hagy-Lopez, Therapist, Student Services

Born and raised in Southern California, Mrs. Hagy-Lopez moved to the Coachella Valley in 2002. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy with Clinical Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University. Her early career included home based services, school-based programs, post hospitalization programs, outpatient children’s services, child protective services family reunification, and residential therapy at Indio Juvenile Hall. Mrs. Hagy-Lopez assisted with development of educationally related mental health services and provided special education mental health therapy for students and families here at Desert Sands from 2012-2018. She also provided Medi-Cal community and school-based services at Palm Springs Unified Mental Health from 2018-2021.

Tamara Hagy-Lopez


James Lister-Looker, Assistant Principal, Palm Desert Charter Middle School

Mr. Lister-Looker began his career in education in 2009, as a 3.5 hour paraprofessional at Desert Hot Springs High School working with students with moderate to severe disabilities. He completed his teaching internship at John Kelley Elementary in Thermal in 2012, and experienced a full-circle moment, when he returned to Desert Hot Springs High School as a special education teacher. For 6 years, Mr. Lister-Looker helped his students reach their greatest potential, and also started adding to his leadership resume. He served as department chair, WASC Coordinator, School Site Council representative and Student Wellness Coordinator while earning a Master of Arts in Special Education and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership. Nearly three years ago, Mr. Lister-Looker was introduced to the Board as a new Special Education Program Specialist. In this role, he supported administrators, teachers, classified staff, and families to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. In order to further his growth as an educational leader, Mr. Lister-Looker completed the Desert Sands Leadership Academy and served as a Summer School Administrator.

James Lister-Looker


Dr. Lisa McColl, Principal, Dr. Carreon Academy

Lisa McColl is truly an SDSU alumni, having completed both her BA in Liberal Studies, MA in Educational Leadership, and Ed.D in Educational Leadership as an Aztec. In addition to her college coursework, Dr. McColl is also a graduate of the Learning Forward Leadership Academy, where she engaged in 3 years of impactful learning regarding effective leadership practices, professional development strategies that most strongly impact adult learners, and pathways to sustainable change. Dr. McColl began her education career as a junior high teacher. After spending a decade  in the classroom, Her desire to create a larger circle of influence was achieved having accepted a position as a District Curriculum Resource Teacher. For the past 20 years, Dr. McColl has served as a site principal in both K-8 and K-6 settings. She has had the honor to support various student groups including English Learners, Special Education, and GATE students. A major focus of her work as a site leader is ensuring differentiated and extended instruction in order to ensure inclusion and equity for all students. 

Lisa McColl


Dr. Jane McGuire, Educational Psychologist

For 14 years, Dr. McGuire was the School Psychology Program Coordinator at California Baptist University (CBU). While at CBU, she served as an administrator, lead professor, and intern supervisor. She has also been a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP) for 16 years. Dr. McGuire also worked in the Moreno Valley Unified School District for 16 years as a school psychologist,  counselor, and teacher. She is trained as a Behavior Intervention Case Manager and can provide suicide prevention and intervention training and services at the school-wide and individual levels. 

Jane McGuire


Fernando Rodriguez, Assistant Principal, Amistad High School

Fernando Rodriguez received his Bachelor of Exercise Sports Science degree with a Minor in Spanish from Texas State University, San Marcos. He then went on to earn a Master of Education degree in Educational Administration from Grand Canyon University. Mr. Rodriguez has been both a Spanish and History Teacher as well as a Football and Baseball Coach. Most recently at Palm Desert High School.

Fernando Rodriguez


James Santa Maria, Prevention and Intervention Psychologist

Mr. Santa Maria holds a general psychology degree and an Education Specialist degree in School Psychology from California State University San Bernardino. He also holds a Pupil Personnel Services credential in School Psychology. He has had the opportunity to travel during his first few years as a school psychologist, working with the county office in San Mateo and then with Capistrano Unified. He is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Special Education, Applied Behavior Analysis program at Arizona State University  as well as their Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certificate program. Mr. Santa Maria is pleased to return to his home district since he attended Desert Sands schools from kindergarten through 12th grade and is an Indio High School graduate. Go Rajahs! He was a dedicated water polo player and swimmer. His spouse and children also attended all Desert Sands schools. His daughter Nikki was valedictorian at Shadow Hills in 2013, and his son Gary is attending the adult transition program at the Eisenhower Community Education Center. His spouse is an assistant principal with Coachella Valley Unified School District.

James Santa Maria
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