Meet Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero
Guadalupe Guerrero started Oct. 2, 2017 as the Superintendent of Portland Public Schools, the largest and most diverse school district in Oregon.
Guerrero brings to Portland his experience as a leader in large urban school systems in San Francisco and Boston. Through his professional experience and his studies at UCLA and Harvard, Guerrero developed a core set of beliefs about public education:
- All students should have equitable access to enriched opportunities in school.
- We have a collective responsibility to ensure our schools provide a caring, supportive environment.
- School communities should support healthy, positive development of students and help them grow their unique gifts and talents.
- The district must work in aligned and coherent ways and in close partnerships with families and communities.
- The district should always try to be better.
- The district should adopt a student-centered, equity-focused lens in all decisions.
Guerrero came to Portland from the San Francisco Unified School District, where he served as Deputy Superintendent of Instruction, Innovation and Social Justice for the past five years.
He started his education career as a teacher, working three years in San Francisco, then moving to Boston Public Schools, where he taught for four years.
As he taught, Guerrero completed two master's degrees from Harvard, as a principal in 2002 and in the Urban Superintendents Program in 2009. He worked as a principal in Boston from 2002 to 2008 before returning to San Francisco as an assistant superintendent in 2010, a post he held for two years before becoming deputy superintendent in 2012.
Guerrero grew up as the oldest of four siblings of a single mother, who instilled in him a strong work ethic and core values. He and his two brothers attained the rank of Eagle Scout, and each developed as a musician, practicing daily on the guitar, piano and violin. Guerrero entered public school in the San Francisco area as an English language learner, but when his family moved to the Central Valley, he found that schools there did not offer the same support, prompting him to put in even greater effort.
In high school, Guerrero was active in student government. He competed on the varsity wrestling and football teams, and developed an interest in literature and history. He had lead roles as a violinist in the school orchestra, which helped him audition successfully for a spot in the UCLA School of Arts as a music education major.
He worked his way through college with a variety of jobs, including in restaurants and banks, as a janitor and appearing in music videos and performing at weddings. As part of his studies, he worked with inner-city youth, which instilled a desire to help children. He changed his major to history after deciding he wanted to work in public education.
Since arriving in Portland Public Schools, Guerrero has taken on several major challenges, including efforts to fulfill an existing commitment to open two comprehensive middle schools and convert eight schools into K-5 elementary schools. His background as a teacher helped the district bridge a gap with its teachers’ union, allowing PPS to sign a three-year contract with the Portland Association of Teachers, which had been working almost two years without a deal.
Guerrero has made several major hires to his senior staff as he remakes the management structure into one that will take PPS into its next era.
Guerrero and his wife, Carolyn – a longtime public school teacher – have a college-age son and a daughter who is a high school sophomore.
For the second year in a row, Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero will give the welcome address at the All Born (in) Cross-disability Best Practices Educational Inclusion Conference when the event’s 14th staging is held on Saturday, April 6 at the Holiday Inn Portland Airport.
Dear PPS Community,
As you might be aware, there is a growing international student-led movement that designates Friday, March 15, as a day for students all over the world to express their views on climate change. We understand that some students here locally in Portland are considering leaving school to attend an 11 a.m. rally at Portland City Hall.
Excerpt from Superintendent’s Report to the PPS Board of Education on Tuesday, March 12, 2019:
I want to address a topic that is of both personal and professional importance to me, both as Superintendent of the Portland Public Schools and as a son of immigrants to this country, as someone for whom public education opened doors, as someone who entered school not knowing English...who went on to obtain graduate degrees and now has the privilege of serving in this role.
As a new administration, we have been working, to develop a true, comprehensive curriculum for every school in the district at every level.
The goal is simple, yet transformational – you should be able to enter any school in our district, from the west hills to our eastern boundaries, and have opportunity and access to rigorous, well-defined and state-of-the-art learning.