Mentoring Program Protégé Sandra K. Cortez, Cohort 8

Sandra K. Cortez

Cohort 8

Mentor: Dr. Richard Carranza

My name is Sandra K. Cortez, being an educator at heart for 23 years and an administrator for 11 of those blessed years, I have always believed that every student deserves to be part of something great! My middle class, blue collar, passionate Hispanic parents always believed that each one of their children, despite of our zip code, were going to achieve success. They instilled in me to surround myself with people from whose passion I can learn and whose interest will test and fuel my own interest and passions. I believe that no one ever creates success alone. Growing up I knew that you must work hard to earn respect, time, rest, and most important a good education. Witnessing my parent’s passion for success in their humble daily routines, I quickly learned that one must transform any fear into a determined drive for success. The one thing as my dear father still reminds us of is that one can ever take your education away. This is the message I carry over to all of my students and staff. As a teacher at heart I always remind our students that THEY are the reason we are here, my educational philosophy is to always challenge every student to achieve THEIR personal potential by inspiring and reminding them of their greatness and purpose in this world. Preparing them for the uphill battles that will take them from good to great.

As an instructional leader, my goal is to always be Innovative, visionary and transformational. An excellent administrator works collaboratively to create a student-oriented team of educators who prepare students accordingly to their district mission statement. Each student in the district should be given opportunities to develop their academic, social, emotional and physical skills to their utmost potential. An excellent administrator expands opportunities for staff and students to create an important link from the educational setting to the outside world. Great leadership sets high goals and clear expectations to gain in improving individualized instruction, parental involvement, and meeting or surpassing state standards. In addition, and excellent administrator is present, visible, transparent, communication with all stakeholders, empathetic yet centered with an intentional purpose that leads to success for all.

I have had the honor to serve in several committees to better serve my educational community. Curriculum, attendance, special education and Book review committee at a State level with TEA, to name a few. I have presented in several occasions to fellow principals, committees, and our community. I am humbled to say that not only have I visited Harvard University in Cambridge through Raise Your Hand Texas as a selected principal. I attended Harvard Graduate School of Education for one week and enjoyed participating in a one-week Leadership academy with national educators, fellow colleagues and amazing Harvard professors. I have also been nominated three times for principal of the year through HEB Excellence in Education Awards. Two of those times I was a state-wide semifinalist, again humbled by this wonderful experience. In my years as an administrator I have witnessed great academic gains in the schools I have served, which are high in low socio-economic status. It is with great pride that joined an amazing group of educators as our school received The National Center for Urban School Transformation GOLD AWARD! This up to know has been one of my greatest professional highlights, seeing our teachers and students enjoy this amazing recognition has been a blessing.

After serving many committees, receiving national recognition and several awards, at the end of the day my heart belongs to our students, teaching community and love for teaching!