Ariel Lajara

Assistant Superintendent
School District of Philadelphia
2019 Neubauer Fellow
Superintendent Letter of Eligibility, St. Joseph’s University
M.Ed., Special Education Certification, PreK-12 Administrative Certification, Cabrini University
B.S., Elementary Education, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania
"My belief that all students can achieve, regardless of what zip code they come from, is undeniable. I am a product of the School District of Philadelphia and my ultimate goal is to increase student achievement in every school through my experience in creating positive school environments with a focus on equity, student safety, increasing student outcomes with a focus on transformational leadership, and using data to drive results."

Ariel has served as a School District of Philadelphia Assistant Superintendent since May 2020, serving 14 schools in South and Southwest Philadelphia. Under his leadership, his network has seen a 10 percentage point student participation increase in STAR assessments and an 8 percentage point increase in STAR Reading/Early Literacy and Math assessments. His implementation of network-specific biweekly/monthly common assessment led to a 1.3 increase in ELA TDA responses, and his implemention of professional development on the math curriculum led to a 1.0 increase in the math rubric score network-wide. Ariel also had a key role in leading school principals in a book study on Courageous Conversations About Race that increased leader participation from 35% to 100% by its completion. He also more than doubled leader participation in LatinX affinity groups and People of Color Equity Coalition meetings between the start and end of the 2021-2022 academic year.

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.