Chief Education Officer Christine Díaz Tells Us What Makes Acero Schools Special
Acero’s chief education officer, Christine Díaz, has big goals for Acero Schools as she and her team of educators continue to make a difference in the lives of thousands of students and families in Chicago who choose to attend an Acero school.
Although she began her career as an engineer, Díaz ultimately realized that her calling was to be an educator. While she worked at her engineering firm, Díaz was a member of their Young Hispanic Females committee, which mentored and exposed young Latinas to the fields of math and science. Her experience as a mentor to Latinas was what ultimately motivated her to become a teacher. Díaz’s first job as an educator was teaching math at a high school in Pilsen. “That’s where I really fell in love with education and felt that I was definitely walking in my purpose and what I was meant to be here for,” Díaz said.
Díaz says that Acero Schools is uniquely positioned to be a pioneer in pubic charter school education in Chicago serving Latino students and families. “As we transition from an English-immersion to a bilingual model, we have an amazing opportunity to really be an exemplar - to pave and lead the way - working with other partners that are already doing dual-language or bilingual work we have an opportunity to bring it at scale across 15 schools across the city of Chicago,” Díaz explained.
In making sure that students are successful, Díaz says that parents are instrumental and must work hand-in-hand with school teachers and leaders. She says that supporting the culture and bilingualism of Latino students has a distinct advantage. “The research shows, hands down, that bilingual students outperform monolingual students,” Díaz said. She believes that the network transitioning into a bilingual model will even help students in college and beyond as they will learn to market themselves and use their bilingualism, a strength, to their advantage.
“We are the new majority, and we want to make sure that our families are proud of that: our language, our culture and the skillset that that brings,” Díaz emphasized.
Get to Know Acero's Chief Education Officer Christine Díaz!
Christine Díaz, Acero’s chief education officer, is excited to be a part of the charter school network that serves the largest amount of Latino students and families in Chicago. As she settles into her new role and leads a team of impactful educators, she would like to share more of her life’s story.
Born in Killeen, Texas, Díaz was raised in a military family which meant that she frequently moved from one state to another, and, sometimes from one country to another. As the oldest of four sisters she faced added responsibilities growing up. “I was always in charge of my sisters. I got in trouble every single time they didn’t do something, so I became quickly known as a very bossy type of person because I never wanted to get in trouble,” Díaz recalled. Despite the constant shift in homes and schools, she remained focused on her dream of graduating from college and pursuing a professional career.
Although she was not born on the caribbean island of Puerto Rico, she identifies strongly with her family’s Puerto Rican roots as a large portion of her relatives still call Puerto Rico home. Because she and her family were away from her extended family, she says that her parents raised her and her three sisters to be independent young ladies. Díaz says that her parents taught her and her sisters “that family is very important, that [their] culture and language is really important.”
Some of Díaz’s favorite pastimes include professional bowling and dancing, especially bachata, salsa and merengue. In between her professional and social life, she makes it a priority to spend time with her family. Diaz and her husband are proud parents of four children, two boys and two girls. Díaz and her husband are raising their children to embrace both of their cultures, her Puerto Rican and his Mexican culture.
Both in her personal and professional life, Díaz says that she strives daily to be a better version of herself. “I’m always looking to do better tomorrow than I was today,” she said.
As Acero’s chief education officer, Díaz hopes to form meaningful relationships with teachers, students and families while leading her team to ensure the academic success of each student.
Conozca más a fondo a la directora de educación de Escuelas Acero, Christine Díaz
Christine Díaz, directora de educación de Escuelas Acero, está emocionada de ser parte del grupo de escuelas chárter que sirve a la mayor cantidad de alumnos y familias latinas en Chicago. Mientras se adapta a su nuevo cargo y dirige a un equipo de educadores impactantes, le gustaría compartir más de la historia de su vida.
Nacida en Killeen, Texas, Díaz fue criada en una familia de militares, lo que significaba que se mudaba con frecuencia de un estado a otro y a veces de un país a otro. Ya que era la mayor de cuatro hermanas, sus padres le encargaron responsabilidades adicionales. "Siempre estaba a cargo de mis hermanas. Me metía en problemas cada vez que no hacían algo, así que rápidamente fui conocida como una persona muy autoritaria porque nunca quería tener problemas", recordó Díaz. A pesar del constante cambio de hogares y escuelas, ella siguió centrada en su sueño de graduarse de la universidad y desarrollar una carrera profesional.
Aunque ella no nació en la isla caribeña de Puerto Rico, ella se identifica con las raíces puertorriqueñas de su familia ya que una gran porción de sus parientes aún radica en Puerto Rico. Porque ella y sus hermanas no crecieron junto a sus otros familiares, Díaz dice que sus padres las enseñaron a ser independientes. Díaz dice que sus padres les inculcaron que "la familia es muy importante, que [su] cultura e idioma es sumamente importante".
Algunos de los pasatiempos favoritos de Díaz incluyen el boliche profesional y el baile, especialmente la bachata, salsa y merengue. Entre las responsabilidades de su vida profesional y su vida social, ella prioriza pasar tiempo con su familia. Díaz y su esposo son orgullosamente padres de cuatro hijos, dos varones y dos niñas. Díaz y su esposo están enseñando a sus hijos a apreciar sus culturas, la cultura puertorriqueña de ella y la cultura mexicana de él.
Tanto en su vida personal como profesional, Díaz dice que ella se esfuerza diariamente para ser una mejor versión de sí misma. "Siempre procuro ser una mejor persona mañana de la que fui hoy", dijo Díaz.
Como directora de educación de Escuelas Acero, Díaz espera formar relaciones significativas con maestros, alumnos y familias mientras guía a su equipo para asegurar el éxito académico de cada alumno.