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Dr. Lora de la Cruz
P-20 Learning Community Director, Aurora Public Schools, Aurora, CO

What is your current role? I currently serve as a P-20 Learning Community Director, supervising school leaders from early childhood through secondary schools.

What is the enrollment of your current school district? 40,000 students

What are some of your career highlights? I have taught and led in schools and districts that serve a great variety of students. I have been honored to redesign a school in an underserved community to provide 21st century innovative teaching and learning, as well as to be a beautiful community hub. It has been an honor to co-create district strategic plans, and to be currently leading school district improvement efforts through facilitating the creation of a guaranteed viable curriculum and designing professional learning to develop our teachers and leaders.

What are you most proud of professionally? I am very proud to have led schools in narrowing achievement gaps and raising achievement and growth of students across the socioeconomic spectrum. I am currently working alongside other district leaders to co-create an instructional infrastructure to address the achievement gap in a large urban school district. Through this work, we will ensure that our teachers and leaders are well-equipped to provide a world-class education to students in a very diverse school district.

What is one of the biggest challenges facing educators today? Educators are tasked each day with attending to a great variety of academic, behavioral, social-emotional, trauma-based and general well-being needs of students, while increasing achievement and growth in sometimes daunting circumstances with few resources. One of the greatest challenges facing educators today is learning and knowing how to address these needs in ways that provide for whole-child development.

Why is a program like SLA important for Latino educators?  The Superintendents Leadership Academy brings together Latino educational leaders from around the country who are unique in our life experiences and our passion to be equity leaders. The SLA experience allows leaders from diverse backgrounds to learn from each other, share our strengths and challenges, and fortify each other throughout our journey toward the superintendency. Through this experience, we are gaining not only skills and strategies to be successful, but also a reliable and lasting bond with each other. This is what makes the SLA so important for Latino educators.