April Message from Dr. Jennifer Cruz

Pendergast Community,

As you know, Pendergast reopened our buildings for in-person learning on March 22, in order to comply with Governor Ducey's Executive Order.

You might be wondering what our in-person classrooms look like after a year of distance learning. I was fortunate to see for myself as I visited our schools. Students and staff are hard at work in highly focused classrooms. We continue to rely heavily on technology and students have made a terrific shift to a mostly paper-free environment.

Our online students remain hard at work as well! I’d like to give a special thank you to our amazing teachers and administrators for all of the changes they have handled with grace this past year. As we prepare to administer our state required assessments, I would encourage you to please make sure your students are well-rested and on time for their testing sessions.

The week of April 5th is National Assistant Principals Week! Please join me in honoring and recognizing all of the contributions our amazing Assistant Principals make in support of the success of our students across the District.

April is considered World Autism Month, and this year we encourage everyone to join the The Autism Society of America in celebrating Autism Acceptance Month. We celebrate the differences in every student and strive to create a learning environment where everyone, including people with neurological differences are seen, celebrated, and thriving.

There is much to accomplish for the remainder of the school year and I can promise you our staff will stay the course in fulfilling our responsibilities and inspiring our students to do their best. I’m proud to be part of this incredible team and look forward to all of our future endeavors.

We are Pendergast, the district that believes in you!

Dr. Jennifer Cruz
Acting Superintendent


About Acting Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Cruz

Dr. Jennifer CruzDr. Jennifer Cruz was born in New Jersey and grew up outside of Washington DC. Jennifer was chosen by the PESD Governing Board as the second Latina Superintendent in the Pendergast District in February 2021.  Jennifer graduated from Arizona State University and went on to teach 4th grade, 6th grade, and gifted identified students in Phoenix, AZ. Her experiences are varied and include serving as a teacher, mentor/coach, principal, Federal Programs Manager, Director of Innovation, adjunct university professor, consultant, assistant superintendent, and Chief Academic Officer.

Dr. Cruz has worked throughout the United States and abroad coaching educational leaders, facilitating strategic planning sessions, serving as a liaison between city agencies and school system, and providing professional development workshops on Project Based Learning, leadership, continuous improvement strategies, curriculum mapping, and design thinking.

While working for an international non-profit focused on Project Based Learning, Dr. Cruz worked with educators across the United States as well as in Australia, Chile, Mexico, and the United Kingdom to support their journey to empower students through Project-Based Learning and Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). She also worked closely with leaders on the challenges associated with scaling innovations across large systems.

Jennifer earned her Doctorate in Leadership, Innovation, and Policy Studies from Arizona State University. She is an AZ certified K-8 teacher and administrator. Improving outcomes for students furthest from opportunity and advancing equity is an important driver of Jen’s career in education.

In her spare time, Jen enjoys spending time with her family, road cycling, traveling, reading, and volunteering in the community.  She was selected as a member of Leadership West Class 23, and is currently a member of the City of Phoenix Youth and Education Commission.

After serving for more than 20 years as an education advocate and instructional leader, Dr. Cruz is proud to serve the Pendergast community as its superintendent.