Maria Julia Ortiz migrated at the age of 5 to Newark, NJ from the Dominican Republic. She is a product of Newark Public Schools where she graduated from Science High School, an employee of the Newark Public School system and a homeowner in the great city of Newark. She is the former principal of the Luis Muñoz Marin School of Social Justice where she led an average of 960-1,075 students daily and over 1,400 students annually. She serviced the largest special education Behavioral Disable population in the city of Newark.
She is the first principal of Dominican descent to serve for the Newark Public Schools. Principal Ortiz began work as an 8th grade Language Arts Teacher and has invested 17 years in the Newark Public Schools system. Her commitment to Education is led by her passion for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Special Education, Social Justice, and Bilingual Education. Her global experience and ministerial work has taken her to over 28 countries where she spent a significant amount of time in Portsmouth England, Ghana and Liberia, West Africa.
Principal Ortiz received her first Master’s degree from Columbia University Teacher’s College and her second Master’s degree in Divinity from Drew Theological Seminary. Currently, she is a Doctoral degree candidate at Seton Hall University. She is an active participant in the Harvard University School Leadership Series. She is the recipient of the NJ State of Education EOF Leadership Award, the Essex County Commerce Latino Leadership Award, The Essex County Althea Gibson Award, and The Newark Municipal Council Educator of the Year award. She remains in Newark, NJ with her family and is committed to seeing the city thrive and excel in its renaissance.