PHOENIX, AZ (2023) – This month, Dr. Dani Portillo begins her term as the first Latina Superintendent for South Phoenix’s Roosevelt School District. Dr. Portillo has spent the past 25 years as an educator, with the goal of uplifting historically underserved communities. Previously Roosevelt’s Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, she has been instrumental in elevating Arizona State Accountability Letter Grades for Roosevelt’s schools– from D’s and F’s to B’s and C’s.
“More than 80% of the nation’s teachers are women, but only 27% of the nation’s school superintendents are women,” said Dr. Portillo. “I am so honored to be in this position. Like the children I serve, I also attended public schools in South Phoenix, and look forward to engaging our community in the work of improving outcomes for kids.”
Dr. Portillo began her career as a teacher and later became principal at both the elementary and high school level. She has also served as university adjunct faculty. Her experience working with professionals who serve children across the gamut of ages has prepared her with a unique perspective on the challenges they face, and the best way to prepare students to succeed.
Roosevelt School District’s New Superintendent has an Inspiring Immigration Story
Dr. Dani Portillo and her family immigrated to the United States from Honduras when she was a child. Having spent her formative years in South Phoenix, she returned to serve as an Executive Director for the last four years and now serves in the position of Superintendent with a firm understanding of the needs in her community.
“My experience coming to the United States from a different country not only connects me to the children in our district who have similar experiences, but also connects me to those that I lead who have experienced other obstacles and adversities in life. My goal is to contribute positively to the lives of all students by uplifting them and providing their schools the support that they need” says Dr. Portillo.
Continuing the great work begun under the leadership of her predecessor, Superintendent Boyce, Dr. Portillo is committed to ensuring that Roosevelt School District’s students have the skillset academically and socially to succeed professionally and in life.
"We are excited and proud to have selected Dr. Dani Portillo as the new Roosevelt School District Superintendent. She is an incredible leader who understands the amazing gifts and rich roots of the south side community, while also understanding our potential and where we are headed. She is the perfect person to continue Roosevelt's growth and it is extra special for the board to have selected someone from within, as we feel strongly about growing our own talent,” says Shelley Jackson, Roosevelt School District Board President.
About Roosevelt School District
Roosevelt School District No. 66 was established in Phoenix, Arizona in 1912. The first RSD school was located south of the Phoenix City Center on the corner of what is now 7th Street and Southern. What began as a 15-pupil district has grown into a school district serving more than 6,500 students and 1,200 employees in 20 learning communities. The Roosevelt School District remains the largest employer in South Phoenix.