Don Wise, Ph.D.

Meet Don

RiA Coach & Advisor Board Member

California State University Fresno

A Personal Note from Don

I am happily married with two children and I believe that life is a journey that provides valuable leadership lessons each and every day. After a career of leading schools in five different countries, we moved to the US where I just completed 20 years as a full professor of Educational Leadership at Fresno State University, retired and promptly assumed a position as an adjunct professor at National University working with emerging leaders.


My wife is from Colombia, a beautiful country which we visit whenever possible. Both our son and daughter were born overseas and all of us are bilingual in English/Spanish. My wife is a family therapist with a thriving business of helping others. Our son is an executive coach with a major multi-national firm and our daughter is a middle school teacher after serving overseas for several years.


I also work as an executive coach to local school principals and superintendents and am a consultant to the Ministry of Education in Guatemala where I am assisting in the development of a nationwide coaching program. In my spare time, I enjoy travel, hiking, and fishing for trout in the mountain streams near our home.


My passion is to make a difference for those I serve, be they school superintendents, teachers, or anyone else who is seeking support. I understand that some will want me to assist them by coaching using powerful questions to help them think more deeply about the problems and opportunities in their work and personal lives. Others may want some mentoring to help them learn specific tasks for skills. I like to think that my strength is finding the best fit of coaching and/or mentoring for each situation.

About Don

Don Wise has a passion for helping others and besides the work that he does in his professional life, he and his wife serve as facilitators of a program for reformed addicts to be reconciled with their families through the ministry of Teen Challenge International. Don and his wife also host a weekly Bible study at their home. Their interest in travel has taken them to Israel, Europe, and New Zealand in the past few years.

Languages Spoken:



Available Locations:

  • ONLINE: Worldwide

  • IN-PERSON: Greater Los Angeles, California area

My Areas of Expertise:

My areas of expertise include, but not limited to:

  • School leadership at the superintendent, principal, and teacher levels

  • Coaching and executive coaching at all levels

  • Effective change processes

  • Overcoming barriers to change

  • Effective communication

  • Building a compelling vision

  • Strategic planning to achieve the vision

  • Using Appreciative Inquiry as an evaluation and planning approach

  • The use of SMART goals

  • Developing professional learning communities

  • Developing behaviors that build trust and leadership

My Credentials:

  • Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Administration, University of Alabama

  • M.A. in Educational Administration

  • Certificates to hold school administrative positions

  • Professor of Educational Leadership at California State University Fresno

  • Former Chair of Research and Educational Leadership department, Fresno State University

  • Executive Coach to over 25 school principals and superintendents in California

  • Certified coach in school reform

  • Former Associate Director of the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute (CVELI) providing leadership coaching to over 40 school districts in California

  • Named as Professor of Education of the Year in 2012 by the Association of California School Administrators Central Valley Region

  • Consultant to Ministry of Education of Guatemala in establishing a nationwide educational leadership coaching program

  • Authored book (in Spanish) used for educational leadership coaching in Guatemala; COACHING PARA EL LIDERAZGO EDUCATIVO (COACHING FOR EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP)

  • Former Superintendent of 5 different international schools in Latin America

  • Former adjunct professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mexico

  • Over two dozen publications, including one book, mostly focused on leadership and coaching

How do I request Don as my RiA Coach?


  1. Apply for membership to the RiA Community by clicking on the "Become a Member" button.

  2. Request Don as your coach (during the application process).

  3. Once approved for membership, your first session will be arranged!

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