Susan Belenardo, Ed.D.

Meet Susan

RiA Coach

University of California Irvine

A Personal Note from Susan

I have the good fortune to live a life balanced with personal and professional adventures. Our family has traveled extensively both internationally and locally. I have had the opportunity to serve at all levels of responsibility in several K-12 school districts and recently retired after serving over eight years as a school district superintendent. I am continuing my service in education as a university professor and program director in Educational Leadership.


My husband has recently retired from his business in providing electromechanical engineering consultation for innovative solutions to companies both locally and internationally. We have two grown children established in their own careers in education. Our daughter is an Anthropology instructor in higher education and our son is an academic support teacher at an American school in Shanghai, China.


Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to coach both beginning and experienced administrators and have provided training and support for developing coaching programs for both virtual and classroom environments. My experience also includes presentations on leadership planning, preparing for disruptions in the workplace, and designing 21st Century learning environments. Most recently, I have also had the opportunity to coach innovative district leaders in designing systems that support the digital transformation in K-12 school districts.


Through coaching I strive to empower others to further develop their leadership skills, explore possibilities in developing solutions, and design new ways of being and doing. Whether coaching is focused on mediating, mentoring, or providing technical support, my goal is to build a relationship based on trust to not only achieve solutions to today’s challenges but to also support ongoing personal and professional growth and development. I believe in the importance of living and leading with authenticity, building relationships, and aligning your daily work to your personal values and goals.

About Susan

Susan believes life is an adventure and challenges are an opportunity for growth. She also believes in the importance of giving back to her community and is a member of several local service organizations and volunteers her time and provides professional support to a local school for autistic students. Susan and her husband enjoy exploring new travel venues and spending time with their grandchildren.

My Areas of Expertise:

My areas of expertise include, but not limited to:

  • Leadership at the superintendent, administrator, and teacher level 

  • Professional coaching and mentoring at all levels 

  • Strategic planning and innovation 

  • Designing equitable programs for diverse student needs 

  • Building effective leadership and governance teams 

  • Overcoming barriers to change 

  • Program design and development

My Credentials:

  • Ed. D. in Educational Leadership, University of California, Irvine 

  • M.S. in Educational Counseling 

  • Certificates to hold school administrative positions 

  • Professor of Educational Administration at the University of California, Irvine – Division of Continuing Education 

  • Program Director for the Preliminary Administrative Credential Program, University of California, Irvine – Division of Continuing Education 

  • Adjunct Faculty Educational Administration, National University  

  • Faculty member Education Innovation Alliance – Chief Innovation Officer Certificate Program 

  • Certified educational leadership coach 

  • Coach to over 50 administrators in California 

  • Former Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, Administrative Director, Principal and Teacher in several school districts in California 

  • Annual presenter to School Employers Association of California Negotiators Certification Program 

Languages Spoken:


Available Locations:

  • ONLINE: Worldwide

  • IN-PERSON: Orange County / Greater Los Angeles / North San Diego County, California areas

How do I request Susan as my RiA Coach?


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

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

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

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