Phoenix native Laura Pastor is a fifth-generation Arizonan and member of the Phoenix City Council, having been first elected in 2013. She was sworn in to her third term on April 17, 2023. She is a graduate of 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 a classroom teacher herself 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.
Laura is the Community Liaison at Phoenix College. In this capacity, she implements, communicates, coordinates, and administers the community relations activities at Phoenix College with a variety of internal and external communities and partners throughout the local region. Ten years prior to this, she was the Director of Early Outreach at South Mountain Community College and Phoenix College.
Laura was elected to serve as a member of the Phoenix Union High School District Governing Board, where she was a strong advocate for strategic planning and participatory governance for the District. She served for over a decade.
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 Outreach.
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.
Laura is the current chair of the Economic Development Subcommittee and serves on the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Planning Subcommittee. In addition, Laura serves as the Phoenix representative and Chair of the Valley Metro Rail Board of Directors and the Valley Metro Audit and Finance Subcommittee. Finally, Laura serves as co-chair of the Fast Track Cities Ad Hoc Committee and is a member of the Workforce Ad Hoc Committee.
She has served as 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 minor league coach. They have four children, Henry Jr., Claudia, Eduardo, and Sophia