In Memory

Mike Desa

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05/12/10 11:10 PM #1    

Nancy DeCicco

Rest in Peace

05/25/10 03:37 PM #2    

Kathleen Quinlan (Rushing)

Mike was Superintendent of Walnut Creek School District.  He was well respected by his teachers and it was a great loss to education and the world in general.  I remember Mike from the James Monroe neighborhood, always a great smile and friends with everyone. 

05/25/10 08:37 PM #3    

Suzanne Johnson (Kinavey)

Mike was always fun.  He was very nice to me, even though we did not know each other well.  Rest in peace, Mike,  Sue Johnson Kinavey

06/12/10 02:02 AM #4    

Laurel Walker (Moser)


Michael DeSa -- headed Walnut Creek schools
October 25, 2006|By Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer
Michael DeSa, who served as superintendent of the Walnut Creek School District for 12 years, died last week after a 2 1/2-year battle with colon cancer that did not dampen his enthusiasm for working with children, his family said.
Mr. DeSa, who lived in Alamo, was 55. He died Oct. 18 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Walnut Creek, eight days after his illness forced him to quit reporting to work.
His work "got him up and got him going in the morning," said Mr. DeSa's wife of more than 25 years, Lisa DeSa, a teacher who met her husband when they both worked at Canyon Middle School in Castro Valley in 1978.
"He loved young people," she said. "I think he was energized by young people -- the energy they brought and their honesty."
Mr. DeSa rarely missed a school performance, an open house, a back-to-school night or a PTA meeting for his district, which serves 3,300 students at five elementary schools and one intermediate school.
"He was a tough leader," school board President Katie Pena said. "He had high standards, and he expected you to have the same standards that he did."
Mr. DeSa grew up in San Leandro, where football, baseball and basketball were the outlet for his energy. He played football for a year on a championship team at Chabot College in Hayward. In those years, he met a group of friends that he kept together for the rest of his life, said his best friend, Mark Corti, the principal at California High School in San Ramon.
"He was the conduit that kept all of us in touch," Corti said. "People were drawn to him."
After graduating from Cal State Hayward, Mr. DeSa started his career as a teacher in Palm Desert, Riverside County. He moved into school administration in Castro Valley, where he also coached the varsity girls basketball team at Castro Valley High School. He was an assistant superintendent in Martinez before taking the superintendent's job in Walnut Creek.
Mr. DeSa was known for his sense of humor and his dedication to his two children, Corti said. His 23-year-old daughter, Caitlin, is a law student at Penn State University. His 21-year-old son, Sam, attends UC Berkeley and is a wide receiver for the football team.
In addition to his wife and children, Mr. DeSa is survived by two sisters, Denise DeSa of Sparks, Nev., and Theresa Ysguerra of San Leandro.
A memorial Mass was held this week. The family asks that donations be made to the Walnut Creek Educational Foundation, 960 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek, CA, 94596.

09/21/10 12:18 PM #5    

Andrea Clisbee (Smith)

I first met Mike when I transferred to James Monroe Elementary School for six months in sixth grade. He sat three seats behind me, I remember, in Mrs. Verley's homeroom class. I remember him as a nice guy and never dreamed he would grow up to be such a fine leader. It sounds like he had a wonderful life and gave of himself to others.

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