September Message from Dr. Jennifer Cruz

Dear Parents, Community Members and Colleagues,

As we begin the 2021-22 school year, I want to thank you all for your resilience during these difficult times. Despite the circumstances, you’ve remained strong and positive. I commend you for being responsible and doing your part to slow down the spread of COVID-19. I truly believe that together we are making a difference. Throughout Pendergast we are promoting a BEE Safe Wear a Mask campaign.  Look for our posters all around the District featuring Bruce the Bee sporting his mask! I ask you all to please “bee safe and wear a mask.

As you may know, the month of September is a significant time of year for our nation. This month, we will observe, reflect, and remember all of the lives that were lost on September 11, 2001. Let us also acknowledge and remember the strength, solidarity, and hope that we have gained over two decades.

This month we will begin working on our District’s Strategic Plan. We will be having a series of Strategic Planning Community Forums. We encourage everyone to attend and participate in these community forums as it gives us the opportunity to understand what our communities’ needs are and plan for a better future.

Lastly, we want to remind you that on June 1st our Governing Board unanimously voted to authorize the Pendergast District to conduct a  bond election for $53.5 million that will not increase taxpayers’ tax rate. The Bond election will be on Tuesday, November 2nd conducted by mail-in ballot only. Early voting for this measure will start Thursday, October 6th. The last day to register to vote is Monday, October 4th. We will continue to update the community about the Bond Election via our website, social media platforms, and through community meetings so that voters can make an informed decision.

To find out more about our bond election and to see how the District intends to utilize the bond dollars, please visit our website.

We deeply appreciate your support and belief in the Pendergast District. We invite you to stay connected with us through Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, our website and Twitter. Please remember, we are Pendergast, the district that believes in YOU!


Dr. Jennifer Cruz


About 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.