Reyes Maria Ruiz Leadership Academy

“My mother and grandmother are teachers and made a huge impact in the community they worked in. The level of dedication and perseverance they demonstrated in forming and reforming entire families through the power of a great education lights the fire in me to do the same.”

What made you to want to become a school leader?
The servitude of specifically Title 1 students and their families is important to me. I wanted to have an impact on the school family as a whole, rather than just over my select group of classroom children. I seek to carry out Espiritu’s vision of the whole child, the creation of servant leaders, and high educational growth/gains. I am inspired to form the BEST team of teachers who share the same mission and inspire all to reach for the stars.

What are your school’s Top 3 accomplishments?

  1. The creation of a family environment where students, parents, and even teachers seek to join the Reyes Maria Ruiz Leadership Academy family to either get the best education or to make a difference in the lives of children.
  2. Having the Highest ‘A’ rating in the south central corridor who serves Title 1 students. 63% of 5th grade students at Reyes Maria Ruiz Leadership Academy passed the Math assessment while 70% of 6th grade students passed the Math assessment in AzMERIT testing, both almost double the state passing average for Math.
  3. Having former students enroll their children at our school. Currently we have over 10 former students who have their children at Reyes Maria Ruiz Leadership Academy.

How do you and your team defy expectations?

  • Purposeful planning
  • Accountability
  • A system of support for teachers, students, and parents
  • Structured data analysis meeting
  • Educating the whole child: mind, body, and spirit
  • Creating a servant leadership environment
  • Hiring highly effective and loving teachers

What is one of your Big Goals for 2016?
To surpass our AzMERIT scores from last year and retain 100% of our teaching staff!

What is the biggest challenge that you and your students face?

  • The external factors outside of the school walls that hinder learning
  • Identifying and providing support structures to meet those external needs

Tell us one unique story about your school and culture.
During the week of January 11 – 15, our school held an MLK Event that was led by our student board of service. The students wrote 59 letters to Arizona and US government elected officials inviting them to become a part of a movement of change. The letters described the high percentage of poverty and hunger in the south Phoenix area and invited them to attend a Call to Action meeting. While waiting for responses, 518 students collected can goods to donate to a local food bank to help with the eradication of hunger.

On January 15, the students held their Call to Action Luncheon to inspire key leaders in the community to put political differences aside and rise up to help eradicate hunger and poverty.  The inspirational speakers were: US Congressman Gallego, Reverend Benjamin Thomas, Pastor Warren Stewart, and local advocates for education Victor Vidales and Christine Jones.

The final turnout included over 255 attendees, including Mesa Mayor John Giles and the A for Arizona team. After the event, the students collected the community leader’s names and contact information to follow up on additional meetings to continue the momentum on the War on Poverty in south Phoenix.

Learn more about Reyes Maria Ruiz Leadership Academy at:
www.espiritu.org or on twitter