The Tolleson Union High School District (TUHSD) recently welcomed Dr. Rosalva Lagunas as its new director of grants and federal programs — a role she said she took on to serve the district and support its students and teachers.
Lagunas, who replaced Hilda Ortega-Rosales on May 29, manages the district’s federally-funded grants and programs used to improve student success, enhance teacher quality and increase equity and access to educational resources.
“I oversee the grants, such as Title I, Title II, Title IV and make sure that that we are in compliance with the requirements the ADE (Arizona Department of Education) has. I make sure that we submit our grants on time and we allocate those funds to our schools for our students,” Lagunas said.
Lagunas, who was a teacher at Mesa Public Schools for more than 15 years, eventually sought opportunities outside of the classroom and joined the ADE as a Title I and Title II specialist.
“Title I provides funds to schools to serve low-income students. The goal is to help all students receive fair, equitable education to close the gap. Title II is mainly that support for teachers, staff, administrators to get vetted, like professional development training, so they are better prepared to teach our students,” Laguna explained. “I (oversaw) that for a year at ADE.”
And after learning about TUHSD’s director of grants and federal programs opening, Lagunas pursued the position.
“I had heard so many great things about Tolleson Union High School District. I had the opportunity to visit Tolleson about two years ago, and I loved the community. I knew that this was a place that I wanted to work for,” Lagunas said.
Discovering new opportunities and securing more grants — like the Title IV, which promotes well-rounded education, safe and healthy students and effective use of technology — is Lagunas’ priority.
“My goal is to get those grants for our students because in reality this is what we do; we do it for our students. Getting that additional support that perhaps our local state and local taxes can’t help with,” Lagunas said.
“We want our students to succeed and we need the funds to help them and help our teachers.”
Lagunas earned her doctorate degree from Arizona State University in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on language and literacy. Her dissertation topic covered language shift from indigenous languages to the dominant language and its impact on family, school and community.