Dr. Cile Chavez Rural Superintendent Academy Fellows

In conjunction with the launch of CEI’s Rural Superintendent Academy, the first Dr. Cile Chavez fellows have been selected. Cindy Lystad and Luis Murillo will receive financial assistance from the Boettcher Foundation for costs related to participation in the RSA program. This fellowship is intended to inspire diverse, under-represented education leaders to join the RSA and bring their unique perspectives to the helm of Colorado districts.

“I believe this world is more and more diverse. And recognizing and appreciating diversity will only enhance the lives of students and their journeys in life,” said longtime Colorado education leader and Boettcher Foundation Trustee Dr. Cile Chavez. “To value the merits of a diverse field of superintendents will only enhance the creativity of services, programs, solutions, and ideas.”

Dr Cile Chavez Fellow emblem

Cindy Lystad

Sterling High School
Sterling, Colorado

2021 Fellow

Dr Cile Chavez RSA Fellow emblem

Cindy has worked in rural school settings as a classroom teacher, special education instructor and case manager, a gifted and talented teacher and coordinator, a building administrator, and even as a board of education director.   

Cindy was chosen as a Chavez Fellow because of her commitment to equity. “I see one of my most impactful contributions to my students and staff right now is to provide hope,” she said. “The bleakness of this past year has left many unmoored. Job losses, food insecurity, and very high COVID positivity rates in Logan County have taken their toll. Although our community’s losses and mental health impacts have not been equitable, our responses will be. I want to lead by example today and inspire others to lead in the future.”


“In this region of Colorado, white male high school principals are the norm. I want all of my students to see a path for themselves, no matter their gender, race, learning differences, SES, or ethnicity,” 

Luis Murillo

Skoglund Middle School
Center, Colorado 

2021 Fellow

Dr Cile Chavez RSA Fellow emblem

Luis is in his seventh year as a Colorado rural school leader. “Holding important seats of service and power are an integral part in supporting the development of equity for students and future leaders,” he said. “It is important for people of color to see people like them in those seats. This begins to break the stereotypes that people of color fill classified positions in education. Furthermore, in supporting equity for students and future education leaders, I believe it is imperative to tap into the pipeline. “

“Moving forward, I pledge to identify, encourage and mentor underrepresented students, teachers, and principals into looking at higher roles in education.”