Maria Ortiz, currently a student in the Executive Ed.D., K-12 School Administration program in the College of Education and Human Services, was recently appointed to the position of Executive Director of Student Life for the Newark Board of Education. She is the first principal of Dominican descent to serve for the Newark Public Schools system.
Since migrating to Newark from the Dominican Republic at the age of 5, Ortiz has devoted much of her professional life to improving the city's sustainability and remains as a prominent resident. A product of the Newark Public Schools, she graduated from Science High School and has invested her entire seventeen-year career as an integral part of its educational evolution.
Ortiz began as an 8th grade Language Arts Teacher and is the former principal of the Luis Muñoz Marin School of Social Justice where she led an average of 960 students daily and over 1,400 students annually. She also serviced the largest special education behavioral disability population in the city of Newark.
A passion for culturally relevant pedagogy, special education, social justice, bilingual education and faith has allowed Ortiz to significantly impact the world beyond the city of Newark, having visited over twenty-eight countries including England, Ghana, Liberia and West Africa.
She is an active participant in the Harvard University School Leadership Series, a recipient of the NJ State of Education EOF Leadership Award, the Essex County Commerce Latino Leadership Award, The Essex County Althea Gibson Award, and The Newark Municipal Council Educator of the Year award.
Ortiz received her first master's degree from Columbia University Teachers College and her second master's degree in Divinity from Drew Theological Seminary.