Founding Head of School Dr. Leyba’s deep subject matter expertise, rich educational background, and strong belief in the importance of fostering community, makes her an ideal BASIS Independent Schools administrator.
Initially following a traditional track into a career in academia, Dr. Leyba received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Furman University (Greenville, SC) in 2005, and a Master of Arts degree in history from North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC) in 2007. Her research in North Carolina focused primarily on Eighteenth-century intellectual history and culminated in a thesis that analyzed the connection between university teaching and the Scottish Enlightenment. In May, 2014, Dr. Leyba received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in history from the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation, entitled “Theatre, Calvinism, and Civil Society in Eighteenth-Century Edinburgh and Geneva,” used the morality of the theatre to explore the changing nature of Calvinist theology and religious practice in Edinburgh and Geneva.
It was during her graduate work she realized how much she loved teaching—and how much students loved having her at the helm in the classroom. Teaching undergraduate courses throughout her graduate school career, Dr. Leyba was recognized as an outstanding Graduate Student Instructor at UC, Berkeley, in 2012. She also received the university’s Teaching Effectiveness Award in 2012. As one of the founding faculty members of BASIS Independent Silicon Valley, Dr. Leyba embraced her role as a history teacher and more recently as Director of Academic Programs. Since coming to BASIS Independent Schools, she has always had her sights set on how she can positively impact the most people, which meant a natural transition to administration. As an administrator, Dr. Leyba’s strength is fostering collaboration between all members of the school environment. “Everything works better as a team. I value an all hands on deck mentality within our faculty and strive to give everyone a voice—both teachers, students, and other administrators. I value open dialogue as it truly enhances the learning experience of an accelerated academic environment such as ours.”
As a long time Fremont resident and mother of a BASIS Independent Fremont student, Dr. Leyba shares, “coming to work for me is not just about leading a school; it is about creating and being part of a community. Success for us in our first year, and in future years, is building a community, it is walking into classrooms, seeing happy students, and hearing from parents and families that they are happy to be here. We are absolutely a BASIS Independent school, but we are going to have such a unique character and I am really excited to see that unfold.”
Outside of school, Dr. Leyba enjoys spending time with her family, reading (though nearly everything she reads is related to history in some way- she can’t get away from it!), and cooking. She also loves being able to travel with her family and is very fortunate to have a young child who is an excellent little traveler!