A National Award-Winning Publication

A Passionate School Leader

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Ernesto Saldivar, Jr.


Age: 39

Title: Principal

Name of Organization: Torres Elementary- Acero Schools Chicago



Ernesto Saldivar, Jr. is a first-generation, bilingual, bicultural, Latino dedicated to transforming the landscape of education. He believes that all students and their families deserve access to schools that are safe and inclusive – schools that provide high quality culturally relevant and socially just opportunities where students can self-actualize as powerful human beings.

He is part of the Acero School Network serving as principal of Torres Elementary in Chicago’s Archer Heights’ neighborhood. Prior to his current role, he served in Chicago Public Schools since 2003 as a high school English teacher, teacher leader, and assistant principal.

His professional competencies have been demonstrated by his passion in Ethnic Studies. He maintains that Ethnic Studies is a way of life – it is love, it is liberation, it is empowerment through the unveiling of the covert oppression used in traditional K-12 spaces to stifle the innate power of students of color and other marginalized groups. Ethnic Studies is a pathway to consciousness that restores the past, heals the present, and builds the future.

In addition to being a highly accomplished educator, he is a 2019 Chicago Surge Fellow – The Emergents, Golden Apple Scholar, Golden Apple Teacher of Distinction. Most recently, he was named a 2020 Multicultural Leadership Fellow sponsored by the Latino Policy Forum.

“To joyfully evolve in mind, heart, and spirit, surround yourself with gente that unapologetically allow you to claim your cultural core. Let THAT ignite your passion to take charge, speak out, and intentionally transform systems that have been historically oppressive.”


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