PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today announced Armando Ruiz as the newest member of the Arizona State Board of Education (SBE). He replaces Jared Taylor as the public member on the SBE.
Mr. Ruiz currently serves as the CEO Servant Leader at Espiritu Community Development Corporation and Espiritu Schools, Inc. Espiritu Schools comprise three charter schools and one preschool located in south Phoenix serving a predominantly low-income, Latino student population. A leader in the early charter school movement, Mr. Ruiz received the third charter contract in the state for Espiritu Schools in 1995.
"Armando’s vision for educational opportunity for all has transformed underserved communities in our state,” said Governor Ducey. “His servant leadership perspective will be invaluable on the State Board of Education as they consider the best practices and policies needed to improve the student outcomes in our struggling schools."
Ruiz was elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 1981 and at the time, was the youngest Hispanic legislator elected in the state. He served in the Arizona House until 1991 and was appointed to the Arizona State Senate for one term of office. After two years as Executive Director with the South Mountain YMCA, Ruiz began working as a policy advisor to Governor Fife Symington on issues related to community development. His oversight of the $20 million project, the “Neighborhood Revitalization and Community Development,” resulted in the Neighborhood Preservation Act, key legislation enacted to address neighborhood blight, redevelopment and youth employment in underserved communities.
In 1995, along with his twin brother, founded Espiritu Community Development Corporation, a non-profit community development and servant leadership organization. Along with new charter schools, Mr. Ruiz led the effort to build new infrastructure systems of affordable houses and local businesses, technology centers and individual leadership academies. From its inception in 1995 to today, Mr. Ruiz has been employed in executive positions at Espiritu Community Development Corporation.
"I am honored to serve all teachers, parents and students in our public education system," said Mr. Ruiz. "I'm thankful to Governor Ducey for giving me the opportunity to work alongside other educational leaders to advance high-quality educational options for all students in our state."