PHOENIX UNION— Vanessa Casillas has been named the North High School Principal, beginning in July of 2017.
Casillas returns to the District where she went to school, and where she began her educational career. A Carl Hayden graduate, she became an English teacher there in 2003.
Casillas is currently an assistant principal at Mesa High School, a post she has held for four years. Her first administrative assignment was as an assistant principal at Pueblo Magnet High School in the Tucson Unified School District, from 2010-2012.
Casillas was the District’s first Chicanos Por la Causa Esperanza Award winner in 2009, honoring Latino teachers who inspire students of all backgrounds, play an active role in the school, and demonstrate a true commitment to the community. She served as the Student Government advisor, rose to English Department Instructional Leader, and was an administrative intern in her final year at Carl Hayden.
She comes from an AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) Demonstration School to North, which just earned that designation this year. AVID is a college readiness system designed to provide students in the academic middle with structure and support, access to rigorous curriculum and preparation for entrance into a four-year university. AVID Demonstration Schools are exemplary models of the AVID College Readiness System.
“It is very surreal to become a leader in PUHSD. I have a strong vested interest because not only am I a product of Phoenix Union, the vast majority of my family are graduates of Phoenix Union. I have family that have graduated from North, Carl Hayden, Central, Maryvale, South Mountain and Phoenix Union,” Casillas said. “I want to be a role model for the students and help them see success from someone who is just like them. I was in their shoes not too long ago as a student in Phoenix Union and I want them to know that they can be successful too.”
Casillas has a B.S. in Secondary Education, and two Masters- Bilingual Multicultural Education, and Educational Leadership, all from Northern Arizona University.
Casillas, 38, is married to Joseph Casillas, an Exceptional Student Services teacher at Carl Hayden. They have four children and reside in Glendale.
Source: Phoenix Union High School District.