In 2013, she was the lead organizer, who prevented an immigration bus of undocumented immigrants from deportation in Phoenix, AZ for the first time in the nation’s history. In the same year, with the help of the community, she stopped her father’s deportation. She was also recognized as 2017 #NBCLatino20 and the Muhammad Ali Center as the 2018 Humanitarian Recipient for Spirituality. She hopes to share her talents and skills with the community to co-create healing spaces, political change, and leadership development of our immigrant youth and mixed-status families.
In her volunteer time, she also serves as a member of the Leadership Council for ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation and is a Board Member at Chicanos Por la Causa (CPLC). She is also a founding member of the first Teach For America DACA Advisory Board
Dr. Chad Gestson has served as Superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District (PXU) since the fall of 2015. Under his leadership, PXU has become one of our nation’s most recognized portfolio district. The District has recently launched several new schools, including a Gifted and Talented Academy, a Digital Academy, and the Phoenix Coding Academy. This year, Phoenix Union launched a new school concept never before seen in America – PXU City, a school that uses the city, not a campus, as the classroom. Gestson was recently named the Arizona Policymaker of the Year by the Arizona Health Association and the Arizona Superintendent of the Year by the Arizona Association for Public Relations.Gestson is an alum of The Broad Academy at Yale’s School of Management. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Chiefs for Change and a Stanford Hoover Education Success Initiative council member. In 2019, he published his first book, BEFORE Teaching and Learning, a turnaround guide for school leaders.
Prior to being named Superintendent, Gestson was the district’s Director of Leadership and spent five years as the principal of Camelback High School, where he launched the first and only Montessori high school in Arizona. Before joining Phoenix Union in 2009, Gestson served as an elementary school assistant principal and as a middle school principal. A product of Teach For America, he began his teaching career in 2001. Prior to his public education career, Gestson was a commercial construction superintendent in Seattle, WA.
Gestson holds a B.A. in English from the University of Washington, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from ASU, and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from NAU. In 2009, he completed his Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from NAU where he was named the Outstanding Doctoral Student of the Year.