After 22 years of serving public school students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, Dr. Luis F. Cruz has confirmed without a doubt that poor students, English Learners, and students of all backgrounds are highly capable. Dr. Cruz shares his personal account of how a high school in Los Angeles County, California serving underprivilieged students ensured all students learn. They established a 92% graduation rate by collectively creating a mission focused on optimal learning for all students. Rediscover the fact that as educational leaders we are not just in the business of ensuring students learn how to read and write, but also in the business of saving lives. Dr. Cruz reminds us all that leadership is not the position we hold but rather the relationships we build and nourish with others to accelerate learning for all students through the establishment of a healthy school culture.
Luis F. Cruz, PhD, is former principal of Baldwin Park High School, located east of Los Angeles, California. He has been a teacher and administrator at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Dr. Cruz presents on methods from the best-selling book Transforming School Culture by Anthony Muhammad.
In 2007, Dr. Cruz led a collective effort to secure a $250,000 grant for Baldwin Park from the California Academic Partnership Program for the purpose of effectively utilizing “courageous leadership” to promote a more equitable and effective organization.
Since becoming a public school educator, Dr. Cruz has won the New Teacher of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Administrator of the Year, and other community leadership awards. He and a committee of teacher leaders at Baldwin Park received California's prestigious Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for significantly closing the achievement gap between the general student population and students learning English as a second language.
As a recipient of the Hispanic Border Leadership Institute's fellowship for doctoral studies, he earned a doctorate in institutional leadership and policy studies from the University of California Riverside. He earned an associate's degree from Mount San Antonio Community College, a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fullerton, and a master's degree from Claremont Graduate University.