Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Indianapolis Schools Will Soon Have No Latino Administrators

Joél Muñoz is Mexican-American, learned English as a second language, and was the first in his family to graduate high school and college. 

He also is the only Latino administrator in the Indianapolis Public Schools, even though about 22 percent of students are Latino. Only about 48 of the district’s teachers were Hispanic in 2011.

So the Indianapolis Star reports that some people were surprised when the IPS school board voted not to renew his contract as assistant principal at George Washington Community School.

The school has struggled with low state ratings, with the middle school earning a “D” last year and the high school an “F.” The newspaper reports that 23 other administrators were also let go for next school year.

It’s interesting to note that the school’s website has a news item on its homepage about Muñoz, 29, recently being named assistant principal of the year by the Indiana Association of School Principals. He is described as an advocate for minority students and English Language Learners. Before he was an administrator, he was a Spanish teacher.

“My ultimate goal is to open doors for students to be successful,” Muñoz said in the news item. “I want to afford opportunities for students to reach their full potential.  I believe that all students have amazing potential and it is up to us as educators to help harvest that potential.”

Indiana University education lecturer Monica Medina lamented the decision to release him, saying that he is a role model for students who also is able to communicate with parents in Spanish to bridge language gaps.