Rosa Apodaca currently serves as the executive director of the Institute for Learning (IFL) at the University of Pittsburgh. She served as a senior fellow at the IFL since 2002. She was selected by the IFL's leadership because of her commitment to inclusivity and diversity and ability to lead a complex, mission-driven organization to create impact and make a difference in the way we educate every student. "Her combined 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." (A. Petrosky, 2018).
While at the IFL, Apodaca has played a vital role in leadership development and English learner (EL) education. Her contributions to the evolution of The Learning Walk® routine as a qualitative, transformational tool for doing continuous improvement work, EL unit development, and foundational training for educators of ELs have been implemented district-wide in some of the IFL's largest school districts in the country. Apodaca served as IFL lead for work with Austin ISD, New Brunswick Public Schools, Paterson Public Schools, Schenectady City School District, City School District of New Rochelle, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, the Texas Association of School Administrators, El Paso ISD, and Hartford Public Schools. Her life's work has been to provide high-quality education to every student, particularly those traditionally under-served.
In addition to her early work as a teacher, Apodaca has held several school district cabinet-level posts which included deputy superintendent. She received the prestigious Maestro Award from Texas Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TexTESOL) for her many leadership contributions, and she was co-founder and principal of Bi-language Services language school.
Apodaca has served as chair of the National Advisory and Coordinating Council on Bilingual Education, United States Office of Education, Washington, DC, and has created and directed award-winning programs that boosted EL achievement in three major metropolitan school districts. She has been published in the areas of leadership, instruction, and EL education, and has served as an educational representative at various international forums.
Apodaca holds a master's degree and doctorate in Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, as well as a master's degree in Spanish Literature and English as a Second Language from the University of Texas at El Paso. Fluent in English and Spanish, she is trained in Continuous Improvement and Design Thinking, a methodology that draws upon logic, imagination, and intuition to come up with innovative solutions. She regularly tweets @Mita11Rosita.Follow @Mita11Rosita