SySTEM Phoenix Leadership Team
Angelica Cruz, M.Ed., Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Angelica Cruz is passionate about ensuring students have access to an excellent STEM education that teaches critical thinking and problem solving skills to prepare them for active engagement in the 21st century workforce. Angelica became passionate about STEM when she attended her first Nanotechnology Conference as a 7th grader. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University with a double major in Child Development and Community Health. After graduation she joined Teach For America, working in some of Phoenix’s most poverty-stricken neighborhoods, raising reading proficiency rates in her Kindergarten classroom from 30% to 100% passing the DIBELS Reading test. After six years as a classroom teacher, Angelica was honored as a Rodel Aspiring Principal and received an Excellence in Teaching award from the Creighton School District Governing Board for significantly raising student achievement in her school. During that time, Angelica completed a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, as well an additional master’s in Educational Administration in 2011 as a recipient of a Teach For America-ASU Fellowship award.
Although she began her journey toward educational leadership in a traditional district, she transitioned to the charter school system to help turn around a failing high school as the Director of Assessment at Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona. While there, she led the school to raise proficiency rates on the AIMS Reading test from 34% to 94% and the AIMS Math from 18% to 82% and spearheaded the creation of an all-girls robotics team. In the 2012-2013 school year, Angelica served as the Business Operations Manager at Empower College Prep and was instrumental in establishing effective and efficient systems to ensure a successful first year of operation while also managing the $1.1 million budget for the school. In May 2012 Angelica was accepted into the first cohort of the Aspiring Leaders Fellowship, followed by acceptance into the Charter Starter Program in December 2012, where she participated in intensive professional development focused on effective charter school operations. During this time, she visited the best STEM schools throughout the United States to research best practices and bring them back to Arizona students by opening SySTEM Phoenix. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, hiking, and spending time with her family.