Norma E. Rodriguez
A.J. Dorsa Elementary School
Alum Rock Union School District
San Jose, California

When Norma Rodriguez arrived at A.J. Dorsa Elementary in 2004, only a small portion of students were scoring at proficient or advanced levels on key academic tests. But that soon changed. “I am relentless in the pursuit of excellence to ensure that all students receive the highest quality education,” says Rodriguez. With her leadership of the urban school, student performance in language arts and mathematics has improved substantially. Rodriguez received county and district recognition for her role in boosting the proportion of students performing at proficient or advanced levels from 10 percent to 35 percent in language arts and from 16 percent to nearly 42 percent in mathematics. Rodriguez’s school, kindergarten through grade ,  serves a largely Hispanic/Latino student population of 571, and 100 percent of the children qualify for free or discounted school meals. One way Rodriguez has spurred schoolwide academic growth has been to pioneer the use of a new intervention model for struggling learners. Rodriguez also has led her school to pioneer the use of data-tracking tools for monitoring student achievement. She provides related training to principals in her district. Further, for the past four years her school has helped train future teachers by hosting graduate students to share best practices. Rodriguez has two M.A. degrees from San Jose State University in California.