Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with Dani Portillo
To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, we interviewed Dr. Dani Portillo, Superintendent of Roosevelt School District and graduate of Catalyze Class 1 and Explore Class 1, to discuss her role at RSD and the importance of ensuring that our Hispanic population has equal access to educational opportunities and resources.
We discussed the history of Roosevelt School District, which was established in 1912. RSD began as a single school with 15 students and has now grown into a school district serving more than 7,500 students and 1,200 employees through 18 different schools.
RSD is well known for having over an 80% Hispanic student population. Portillo describes how schools throughout the district support and value diversity in a multitude of ways:
- Schools employ a higher percentage of bilingual staff
- Schools and teachers create engaging cultural activities and events that resonate with students’ cultural identities
- Community leaders maintain open arms and open viewpoints to support all perspectives and individuals
Portillo describes the great diversity of RSD and all of the different programs and resources that the district has developed for their students and employees. As the largest employer in South Phoenix, RSD is constantly engaged in providing support and opportunities within the district for employees to find new tools of education and develop their skillsets. She describes the immensely positive economic impact that supporting RSD’s employees and families has on South Phoenix. Portillo emphasizes that, in the long run, an educated community is a successful community.