Rosa E. Apodaca, a nationally recognized leader in education and an author with expertise in improving instructional systems focused on equitable outcomes for under-served students, has been named executive director (interim) of the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the Learning Research and Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh.
Apodaca, who assumed her duties on July 1, 2018, has had a variety of leadership roles in major urban school districts, including teacher, professional developer, and cabinet-level leader; she also worked as principal of a language school. Most recently Rosita served as a senior fellow and director of outreach and development at the IFL.
Rosita has worked to improve leadership effectiveness by collaborating with school districts to strengthen instructional leadership and develop high-quality teacher and coaching practice. Rosita, who was born in Texas and educated in Mexico and the United States, is committed to strengthening the equity lens in the IFL work and supporting our partnerships through high-leverage and culturally appropriate practices. She thinks the IFL's partnership with the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Urban Education bolsters the strength of the IFL's efforts.
Apodaca was appointed an IFL fellow at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. Prior to joining the IFL, she served as a senior cabinet-level officer in large urban school districts and held teaching and other intermediary line and staff posts. She also led bilingual education/ESL programs for three major urban districts, served as an expert witness in federal court on the teaching and learning of English language learners, and chaired the National Advisory and Coordinating Council on Bilingual Education. With a background in consulting to international, national, and local education agencies, Rosita is frequently invited to speak at conferences on a variety of educational issues, including raising the achievement of English learners.
Rosita exemplifies the bold thinking and action needed to ensure that every child receives the best educational opportunities. Her combined deep expertise developed as a district leader and as an IFL senior fellow provides assurance that "Under her leadership the IFL will continue its important work in urban schools while growing its national and international presence," said Anthony Petrosky, associate dean of the University School of Education and co-director of the IFL. "Rosita brings sophisticated executive experience to our daily operations and our ongoing outreach to districts, national organizations, and international venues. We are fortunate and grateful for her acceptance of this position."
Rosita received her B.A. from the College of Saint Joseph in Albuquerque, New Mexico; an M.A. from The University of Texas at El Paso; and she holds masters and doctoral degrees in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University.