Renee Estrella Chavez

New Dos Rios Principal Renee Estrella-Chavez is looking at the big picture
Posted on 01/22/2023
Dos Rios Principal Renee Estrella-Chavez with a helping a student

When new Dos Rios Elementary School Principal Renee Estrella-Chavez was growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, her father sometimes brought her to work at the Pep Boys auto parts store he managed. He would take her upstairs to his office, and she was amazed that it overlooked the entire store.

Fast forward to today. When Estrella-Chavez walks into her office she’s able to see the better part of the Dos Rios campus and for her it feels just like…home.

Estrella-Chavez was appointed as principal at Dos Rios after spending the last four years as assistant principal at the school. She has more than 20 as an educator, serving as a teacher, and reading interventionist. It was as an expert providing professional development in social-emotional learning for the Maricopa County School Superintendent’s office that Estrella-Chavez first became acquainted with Dos Rios and the Union Elementary School District.

“I love the community, and I have since before I started here,” she said of Dos Rios. “The parents are amazing. This school is the hub of our community. We know each other. I love that we’re family.”

Those days also taught her something else: the secret sauce to a school’s success.

“I saw when I was visiting classrooms that it really comes down to leadership,” Estrella-Chavez said. “If leaders value their teachers and they’re there to support them, the school will be successful.”

And that’s exactly what Estrella-Chavez intends to do. 

“I miss being in the classroom,” she admits, “but I love that I can go in and support our teachers.”

Estrella-Chavez wants to build a culture that allows both students and teachers to learn and grow. “Learning,” she said, “ is the most important thing we do here”

The first-year principal has initiated the use of student growth profiles at Dos Rios. Through these profiles students set goals and monitor their progress together with their teachers. 

“I like that our goal is focused on building skills in students that allow them to grow and be productive,” she said. “The student profiles allow our students to participate more fully in their own learning, and it helps get them ready for high school.”

And Estrella-Chavez’s end goal is pretty simple: “I want to ensure these kids are getting the best education they can.”

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