From a young age, I recognized that an education could change the life trajectory for a family. I had seen injustice from my childhood visits to Guatemala, where my mother is from, and met many families who could not afford an education. So after graduating from Texas public schools, I became an AmeriCorps tutor while attending college. There, I saw the magic happen as students learned to read and actually began enjoying it! I realized then that I could make a difference in the lives of young people as a teacher.
For the last two decades I have worked tirelessly for students in public education as a teacher, volunteer, and in the nonprofit sector. I believe students need to be college and career ready, and I believe that every child deserves an outstanding education. Students need dedicated and creative adults investing in them and holding them to high standards. As a parent of three HISD students I expect the type of education for all children that I would expect for my own. I believe this because I've lived it.
I am running for HISD Trustee, District VIII because I remain steadfast in my passion for education and committed in my belief that all kids deserve opportunities to fulfill their potential in HISD. During my time in the classroom, I taught students who most would have given up on and continue to work with and advocate for our city’s most underserved students.
Only 20% of students in Harris County earn a postsecondary credential within six years of graduation. There is no silver bullet to solving our problems in education, but we can improve and innovate to prepare students to be competitive as they enter college and the workforce. We need a strong principal pipeline and effective leadership at every level beginning in the classroom. Parents want rigor, not mediocrity, for their students. We need to ensure that students have equity of opportunity at both magnet and neighborhood schools. Schools need freedom to innovate.
I am running for HISD District VIII Trustee because I believe we must do more for Houston’s kids. We must bring greater transparency and trust to the district. We must elevate the voice of parents, teachers and students. That’s why I am asking for your continued support, your voice and your vote. Collectively, we can ensure all children receive the education they deserve. On November 5th, I hope I can count on your vote!
Judith Cruz is a native Texan and grew up in a bilingual, Spanish-speaking home. She is Latina and her mother is from Guatemala. Judith has lived in Houston for over fifteen years, and currently resides in Houston ISD’s District VIII in Eastwood with her husband and three sons. Judith’s three sons attend schools in the Houston Independent School District. Her husband grew up in the East End and is a product of HISD schools.
Judith received a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, Bilingual Special Education from the George Washington University. She has over twenty years of experience as an educator and volunteer in public schools. Judith taught at Lee High School (now Wisdom) in HISD, and subsequently was part of the team that created and started Liberty High School in Gulfton, where she was a founding teacher.
She served on multiple HISD committees, including HISD’s Superintendent's Parent Advisory Committee and her neighborhood school’s SDMC (Shared-Decision Making Committee). Judith co-founded and was PTA president, also at her neighborhood school, Lantrip Elementary. She has served in her community as a member of the Board of Directors of the Eastwood Civic Association and is also on the Board of Directors of Houston A+ Challenge. She currently works at DiscoverU, a Houston non-profit whose mission is to broaden the worldview of underserved youth through experiential learning experiences. At DiscoverU, Judith oversaw the expansion of the program into middle schools and developed the parent engagement, volunteer, and alumni programming.
Judith is a Teach for America alumna that has dedicated herself to working with students and parents across Houston to ensure they have access to information, to quality schools, and a voice in policy-making. She uses her community-building skills to empower youth and families as they navigate school systems. In Judith’s free time she is usually cheering her sons on at a soccer game or a band performance. She enjoys reading, baking, traveling,and gardening.