February 2021 - Jose Ortega

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents

February 2021

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight. Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind!

This month we are featuring Jose Ortega, Principal, Monte Vista High School in Monte Vista, Colorado.

Jose shares his professional preparation and current bio below.  You can read the diverse experiences that have led to his leadership preparation and various leadership roles.  One of our shining stars!

Career Highlights & Education
  • B.A. Psychology Adams State University
  • M.A. Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Adams State University
  • M.A. Special Education/Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education Adams State University
  • Principal Licensure Adams State University

I grew up in Alamosa and I am proud to say that I am from the San Luis Valley. I never wanted to be an educator as I was growing up. I came into education through alternative teaching licensure after I worked for the Department of Corrections for a time. I decided that I wanted to spend my life keeping people out of prison. The best way to do that, in my opinion, is to give them knowledge and an education.

My first teaching position was as a Health Education teacher at Ortega Middle School in Alamosa, CO. That job solidified my thoughts about making this world a better place. I wasn’t satisfied with just being a health teacher so I obtained a Master’s Degree in Special Education and Linguistically Diverse Education and I moved into a Special Education Classroom.

Teaching students with disabilities became my passion and I became involved in advocating for all students, all of the time. The advocacy pushed me into working with English Language Learners at Alamosa High School where I met like-minded people helping to advocate for kids with disabilities or were English Language Learners.

In 2013, I became the Dean of Students at Alamosa Elementary School (AES). It was at that time I decided that I could most affect change that was needed  in schools at the administrative level. While at AES, my principal allowed me to take the reins on changing culture and climate as well as mentoring me on how to create a culture of learning. Subsequently, I moved into the principal role and since 2019 I have been the principal at Monte Vista High School in Monte Vista, CO. Our team is working to build a progressive school culture. I was accepted into the Four Corners LatinX Leadership Academy this year and I am proud to say that I am learning alongside and from educational leaders from around the state and the four corners region. I am also participating in CDE’s inaugural Principal Leadership Institute where I get coaching from veteran administrators to make myself the best leader I can be.

What is exciting about my job?
My job is exciting because I get to help mold the future leaders of tomorrow. I get to help my community and I get to mentor teacher leaders so we can change the course of education..

Words from a consejero/a:
BYA - Bust Your Ass. These words say it all. This is not just the motto that we use, this is how we live our lives. Hard work and persistence pay off. This motto comes from my high school football coach.

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader:
Remember that balance is the key.

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . .
I am usually following my daughters around the country with their activities. I can also be found on the golf course and on the river fishing.

How does CO-ALAS add value?
This group allows me to be myself. It is nice to be around people who understand the situations that we as Latino leaders face. The educational opportunities within CO-ALAS are top notch. Seeing and learning from those who’ve come before us is priceless. This group gives us an opportunity to grow, teach, and lead.

CO-ALAS is a professional education association that advocates for the continued development and placement of Latino/Latina administrators who are committed to quality public education for all students.


PO Box 13109
Denver, CO 80201