Say hello to Danira Ortiz, Blackstone Valley Prep’s new Director of Family and Scholar Engagement. Danira comes to BVP from Coleman Elementary School in Woonsocket where she served as principal for four years.
To best appreciate Danira’s “why” — why she transitioned from a principal to a director of family engagement, why she’s so passionate about cultivating family relationships — it’s helpful to understand her upbringing. Born in New York and raised in the Dominican Republic until she was six years old, Danira witnessed how parent/teacher relationships could be adversely impacted by language barriers.
She recalls growing up her mother wouldn’t attend meetings or conferences at her school; as a Spanish speaker, her mother couldn’t clearly communicate with teachers and felt as though asking for a translator was a bother. To put it simply: She didn’t feel welcome. As a result, when Danira chose education as a career path, she knew she wanted to be an educator who prioritized family involvement.
Danira received her bachelor’s degree from Hunter College, and her master’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education at Lehman College. She was a teacher for seven years in New York City before relocating to Rhode Island. In her third year as a dual language teacher in Central Falls, she participated in the Principal Residency Network (PRN), a residency-based PK-12 Building Administrator certification program dedicated to the development of principals who champion educational equity through leadership of innovative schools.
As principal of Coleman Elementary School, Danira put forth a substantial amount of effort into engaging families — and it showed. At the conclusion of her tenure, 100 percent of CES families participated in ClassDojo, a parent communication tool, versus 10 percent when she started.
Now at BVP, she’s ready to make family and scholar engagement her main focus. Whether it’s connecting families to community resources, hosting family workshops, or being a point person for general inquiries, Danira is excited to put her passion into practice in a full-time capacity.
Danira lives in Lincoln with her husband and two children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.