January Message from Dr. Jennifer Cruz

Dear Parents, Community Members and Colleagues,

As we begin the new year I want to welcome you back and wish you a Happy New Year! I hope that each of you had a wonderful winter break and that you are well-rested and ready for 2022. The winter break gave me the opportunity to reflect on 2021. I don’t think any of us anticipated the challenges we faced in the fall semester, and I'm so proud of how you came together as a community. Your hard work through an incredibly challenging time was truly inspirational. As we move forward in the new year I hope 2022 is your best year ever.

The month of January marks the observance of School Board Recognition Month. This is an opportunity to show our year-round appreciation for our elected leaders who are key to building the future of the Pendergast Elementary School District. As a crucial bridge between the local community and school district, our school board members are elected to establish the policies that provide the framework for the district's schools. Please join me in thanking Mr. Jete White, Senator Martin Quezada, Ms. Susan Serin, Ms. Hilda Ortega-Rosales, and Mr. Jose Arenas, for their commitment to service and public education that affects the present and future lives of our students and our community. 

Every year on the third Monday in January, we honor and celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of many extraordinary leaders of the movement to end segregation and counter prejudice in the United States through the means of peaceful protest. The civil rights movement opened doors to education and employment that had long been closed to African Americans and other people of color. This month, we celebrate Dr. King’s achievements and his commitment to equal rights and justice for all.

Lastly, I would like to remind everyone that our District’s extensive mitigation measures and safety protocols will continue to be in place in the new year. This includes mandatory masking for students and staff. We encourage everyone to do their part to keep our students, staff, and communities safe. We thank you for your understanding, cooperation, and ongoing support of our health guidelines. 

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!


Jennifer Cruz

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.