Maricela Guerrero is the California Executive Director. Maricela leads our Bay Area Region – overseeing all aspects of our 13 California schools. Maricela was a founding teacher at the first Rocketship school that opened 14 years ago and has served as principal at two Rocketship schools in San Jose – including as the founding principal of Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep, a California Distinguished School. Under her leadership, Rocketship’s California schools routinely rank in the top 10% in the state in both math and English Language Arts performance among all districts and charter networks serving a similar student population. Guerrero’s focus on equity, diversity of teachers and leaders, and parent engagement continues to push Rocketship to new heights of success.
A daughter of Mexican immigrants, Guerrero first discovered the inequity of education as a student in south central Los Angeles. Zoned to a failing school, her talent as a musician earned her a spot at a high-performing public school across the city. Her steadfast belief that students shouldn’t have to leave their neighborhood to access a quality public education led her to become a teacher in 2001 in the Alum Rock Unified School District. She then joined Preston Smith as part of the founding team at L.U.C.H.A., an innovative, new elementary school in Alum Rock. In 2007, Guerrero and Smith launched Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary, the first campus of Rocketship Public Schools.
Maricela received her B.A. in Latin American Studies with a minor in education from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Phoenix. After college, Maricela served as the executive director of the Boy Scouts of the Bay Area Peninsula – a role which further revealed the deep inequities in the Bay Area and the lack of opportunities for students of color in California.