Latino Parents Place Trust in Our Schools. They Deserve Results and Progress.

By: Frangie Cruz, School Principal of Lynn Public Schools

Nothing brings me more joy in my role as school principal than to speak with families across Lynn Public Schools and hear about the dreams and ambitions they have for their children. 

For a school district where 71% of students are Latino – many from households where Spanish is their primary language – I’m especially proud that these families can comfortably speak with me in the language they feel most comfortable in, and that they feel like they can trust me because they see themselves and their children reflected in me. 

As one of only two Latina principals in the city, I am proud of the position I now hold, and the trust our families have placed in our teachers, schools and education leaders. At the same time,  I know all too well that not all Latinos who aspire to become teachers and leaders have a clear pathway into the profession. 

I started my career as a substitute teacher by happenstance and luckily had institutions and leaders who invested in me and my leadership. That investment allowed me to embark on a distinctive journey across various roles within the educational landscape, ultimately culminating in my current position as a school principal.

That is why I am proud to serve as an Organizing Captain and to advocate for the Educator Diversity Act, groundbreaking legislation led by Latinos for Education that would invest in and open the door for more Latino, Black, indigenous and AAPI professionals to enter the educator workforce in Massachusetts.

The Educator Diversity Act is near and dear to me because I see it as a vehicle and opportunity to reimagine the educator workforce across the 26 schools in Lynn Public Schools as well as schools across the Commonwealth. 

Lynn has been working to address a teacher shortage for the past several years, and if you look at the data closely, you’ll notice we have a shortage of bilingual educators. This is very concerning given that more than 50% of our students are English Language Learners.

Support the Educator Diversity Act

The Educator Diversity Act provides us with an opportunity to create multiple pathways for diverse educators, especially Latino and bilingual educators, to enter the profession to help us address this teacher shortage. I often hear from teachers that one of the biggest obstacles they faced in their journey into teaching was passing the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). 

This licensure exam disproportionately keeps people of color out of the teaching profession, specifically those who English is a second language. I’ve worked with many paraprofessionals who are so passionate and are among the best educators we have, but the MTEL is often what keeps them from making the transition to a fully certified teacher. The Educator Diversity Act will give school districts the opportunity to look at and invest in them as our future teachers. It only makes sense given they are already in our schools, working with our students, and are passionate about teaching.

I’m also excited about the bill’s focus on inclusion and belonging through Educator Diversity Councils. These councils help elevate the voice and perspective of educators in their local school districts, by providing them with a platform to ideate solutions they want to see in their schools when it comes to teacher recruitment and retention efforts. At the same time, these councils can help teachers harness their leadership skills – as they build policy ideas, present them, and work with school district leaders to implement them – and hopefully eventually step into leadership roles themselves. As someone who has benefitted from leaders and institutions who invested in my own leadership, I know I would not be here today had it not been for these opportunities.

As school leaders, we have a responsibility to ensure that the trust families have placed in us to support their children is met with results and progress. I firmly believe that one way for us to deliver those results is to create an environment where students feel validated, seen and supported by teachers who look like them. That is why educator diversity is so critical to the academic success of our students – not just in Lynn, but across the Commonwealth.


About Frangie Cruz: 

Frangie Cruz is currently the school Principal of Ingalls Elementary School, a K-5 school in Lynn, Massachusetts. Ms. Cruz’s journey to the Lynn Public Schools began in CT, where she served in various school level and district roles. She transitioned to Massachusetts, first developing and refining strategy around family and community partnerships followed by district turn around work with Mass Insight Education before transitioning to the Boston Public Schools. In Boston, Ms. Cruz served as the Director of Operations and Academic Advancement at the Mario Umana Academy, a K-8 dual language school. There, Ms. Cruz led a number of progressive initiatives, most pointedly those directly impacting improvement with instruction and school culture. Her success while at The Umana played a role in her acceptance to the highly regarded Lynch Leadership Academy for the 2020-21 school year. Mr. Cruz holds a holds a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from the University of Hartford, and Masters in Education Leadership and Psychology from the University of Connecticut. Ms. Cruz is a proud Puertorriqueña fully fluent in Spanish.