Growing up 10 miles from the Mexico Border in the Rio Grande Valley, going to college was not a pre-determined path for Maritza, although she loved school and always excelled at it. After a life-changing summer camp at Texas Tech University in the 6th grade, Maritza committed to not only going to college but getting her Master’s Degree as well. In her Senior year of high school, she worked with AmeriCorps Youth Harvest. She tutored students who had not passed their state exams and, during this time, came face to face with real-life achievement gaps with emergent bilingual students, something she was not familiar with as a student fully enrolled in Advanced Placement classes. Her mentors in AmeriCorps were Teach For America alums. Conversations with them and her experiences tutoring students became the foundation for her choice to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree.
For the past 11 years, she has committed efforts to improving culture and instruction in high schools, spending the past nine committed to KIPP Austin Collegiate as she rose from AP Language teacher, Grade Level Chair, Instructional Coach, Assistant Principal, and Principal in Residence. During these nine years, she has learned how to lead with humanity, honor the stories of those she works with, explore and examine identity in pursuit of equity, build relationships and trust with students, teachers, and leaders, and anchor herself in her values. Her ultimate desire is to help students name their personal goals for success, then help them achieve them by working to overcome barriers often placed in front of marginalized communities. She is fiercely committed to the team and looks forward to building a strong, lasting one with the students, staff, and teachers at KIPP Austin Brave in the coming years.