Fellow Profiles




Special Education Certification,
PreK-12 Administrative Certification,
Cabrini University


B.A. Elementary Education,
Lincoln University of Pennsylvania

Ariel Lajara

Assistant Superintendent
School District of Philadelphia
2019 Neubauer Fellow

“Serving as an Assistant Superintendent in my own community is, and has always been, a lifelong dream. I am dedicated to cultivating and sustaining high performing schools for inner city youth. For me, being a Neubauer Fellow allows for opportunities to learn from other transformational leaders across the city of Philadelphia.”

Ariel has served as a School District of Philadelphia Assistant Superintendent since May, 2020.  Previously, Ariel served as principal of Honorable Luis Muñoz- Marín Elementary School (2016-2020). Under his leadership, Muñoz- Marín increased the number of students earning Proficient or Advanced on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) from 10% to 25%. During his tenure, Muñoz- Marín also received the Accelerated Improvement Award for two two academic school years and the Exemplary Three Consecutive Years of School Progress Report (SPR) Growth Award in 2019 for moving up one tier in SPR scores for two consecutive years.


Ariel has been an educator since 2006. Prior to becoming Assistant Superintendent, Ariel served as 1st and 5th grade teacher, director of instruction/behavior, dean of students, assistant principal and principal. Ariel grew up in New York and, after relocating to Philadelphia, attended Jay Cooke Elementary and Olney High School.

2019 Neubauer Fellows Page