The Orange County School Board voted unanimously to the motion to approve Dr. Maria Vazquez as the next superintendent. She is the current deputy superintendent for Orange County Public Schools and will be the first Hispanic superintendent in OCPS.
“This was a tough decision. The district had two very qualified finalists. It came down to our confidence in Dr. Maria Vazquez,” said Chair Teresa Jacobs. “I have known her for 20 years. I know she has every intention to change the culture for the better throughout this district. She is student-centered and I have every confidence that she will create a learning environment where all children feel safe, supported, and successful.”
Dr. Vazquez has served at every level of the education system and has extensive expertise in curriculum and instruction. After beginning her career as an elementary school classroom teacher and resource teacher in reading and language arts, Dr. Vazquez served as an assistant principal and principal in OCPS. She served the district across multiple roles including area superintendent and chief academic officer before being promoted to deputy superintendent in 2018.
During her tenure, Dr. Vazquez has developed a proven track record of leadership for educational equity, according to OCPS. She has expanded access to advanced coursework for historically underserved students, recruited great teachers to the most vulnerable schools, and reprioritized the district’s budget to support teaching and learning.
“I am extremely pleased that the school board selected Dr. Vazquez,” said Superintendent Barbara Jenkins. “Maria is well versed in every aspect of the district and will be able to accelerate strategies for student success. More importantly, she has the passion and the fortitude to lead a large urban district, thanks to her experience and her preparation by Chiefs for Change and other organizations. I am confident that she will work with the school board to continue leading our students to success. I look forward to working with her on a smooth transition.”
As the daughter of immigrants, Dr. Maria Vazquez understands the power education has to transform lives. Her parents fled Cuba, leaving everything they owned behind to provide a better life for their family. They instilled in her that education was the most valuable currency she had and she could not squander it. A first-generation American, Dr. Vazquez traces her passion for education back to the talented, dedicated teachers who changed her own life. Through the work of caring adults, school was a safe place where Dr. Vazquez thrived; she succeeded despite her language barrier. It is because of those experiences that she has made it her life’s work to create learning environments where students feel supported and successful.
An active community member, Dr. Vazquez currently serves on several boards including, City Year of Orlando, The American Heart Association, CareerSource Central Florida and Orange County Government Citizen’s Commission for Children. She is also a member of the prestigious Future Chiefs, Chiefs for Change.
Superintendent Barbara Jenkins will retire at the end of the calendar year which will allow for a transition period.