The following also is provided in Spanish. Lo siguiente también es provisto en español.
Phoenix native Laura Pastor is a fifth-generation Arizonan who
graduated from St. Mary’s High School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in
education from Arizona State University. Her grandparents and
great-grandparents worked in Eastern Arizona’s mining communities, and both her
parents began their careers as classroom teachers.
For four years, Laura was also a classroom teacher in the
Roosevelt and Isaac Elementary School Districts, working primarily with at-risk
students. During that time, she created a volunteer program to provide
after-school tutoring, and authored an accountability program for teachers,
students, and parents.
Currently Laura is Director of the nationally recognized Achieving
a College Education Program (ACE) at South Mountain Community College. ACE is
dedicated to assisting students in their transition from high school through
community college and on to earning a bachelor’s degree. In addition to working
directly with students on their post-secondary plans, Laura oversees all fiscal
and administrative management of the program -- including the coordination,
implementation, and outreach of ACE initiatives. She is charged with creating
partnerships among national, state, and municipal agencies as well as private
Laura is a member of the Phoenix Union High School District Board,
where she has been a strong advocate for strategic planning for the District
and serves on the O’Connor House Speak Out Against Domestic Violence and Mi
Familia Vota advisory boards.
In 1999, Laura was selected as one of 30 participants in the
National Urban and Rural Fellowship. She attended a master’s program at Baruch
College’s School of Public Affairs, City University of New York. As part of
this program, Laura relocated to Chicago for her master’s practicum with the
Board of Education at Chicago Public Schools. There, she organized the National
Conference for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for
Hispanic Americans in Chicago and designed and implemented Theater in Public
Schools. She also participated in the creation of the Global Educators
In August 2000, Laura received her Master of Public Administration
degree and joined the City of Chicago’s Office of Language and Cultural Education
as the project director for Mayor Richard M. Daley’s innovative initiative
Museums and Public Schools (MAPS). She was responsible for a new partnership
between nine world class museums and Chicago Public Schools. Laura administered
the operating budget and collaborated with museum presidents, board members,
and non-profit organizations to continue the expansion of this program. MAPS
served over 10,000 students in grades 2 through 6.
In 2003, Laura became Special Assistant to the Arizona Director of
Insurance. She assisted with legislative matters, rules, constituent
activities, and conducted special research projects -- as well as represented
the Director of Insurance on various boards and commissions. Additionally, she
designed a consumer awareness program for teenagers, the elderly and Hispanic
constituencies embodied in Auto Insurance 101, Health Care and Home Insurance.
In 2004, Laura joined the Department of Employment and
Rehabilitation Services at the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) as
a training coordinator. She worked on several departmental programs including
the Service Initiative, the Aging Initiative, and evaluated contractors engaged
with the agency.
Laura is chair of the City Council Parks, Arts, Transparency &
Education Subcommittee and serves on the following subcommittees:
Neighborhoods, Housing & Development, Public Safety & Veterans and
Transparency and Infrastructure.
She has been a member of the Encanto Village Planning Committee
and is a former member of the Hispanic Advisory Board of Maricopa Community
Colleges, the Homeless Task Force, the Maricopa Transportation Advisory Board,
and Phoenix Day. She resides in Phoenix with her husband, Henry Cotto, a former
major league baseball player and current minor league coach. They have four
children, Henry Jr., Claudia, Eduardo and Sophia.