Amanda Guerrero is a high school Principal. She grew up in South Phoenix and later moved back as an adult. She’s been an educator for over 30 years.
Born in 1968, Amanda Guerrero is the youngest of 6 children. She grew up in a very happy and loud house. Her parents met when they were still in high school attending South Mountain High School. They married at the age of 18 and by the time they were 26, the two had 6 children. Amanda’s father was a surveyor for the Bureau of of Reclamation and helped to build the canals that snake through all of the Phoenix metro area. Amanda’s mother chose to wait until all of her children were in school to go back to school herself. She eventually became a teacher’s assistant. She and Amanda’s father stayed together until her father had passed at the age of 72.
Amanda went to Sunland and Roosevelt Schools for elementary. While Amanda and her siblings went to the school, their mother was working at the school during the same time. Though the family wasn’t very well off, Amanda and her brothers and sisters never felt that way. While growing up, she never saw the different between her and other kids, since her parents made it possible to do things like everyone else. She loved to go to the library and reading. Her mother would read her books. They would go camping anyway they could, even on the side of the road. She was able to do lots of things that may not have cost a lot of money.
(3:44 in the video)
Amanda remembered that sometimes, the family would only have a certain amount of money and they had two options, to pay the bills or go camping. She said they would always prefer to go camping. She’s still able to remember the amazing food that her mom made for her and all of her siblings. They all went to church even if they weren’t ready, her mother still made them go.
(4:50 in the video)
Guerrero remembered a time when she was in the 3rd grade at the age of 8. Her parents loaded the whole family in the car and drove for “miles, and miles, and miles.” They pulled up to a big house and said, “God, whoever lives here they must be rich.” Around that same time, Amanda’s parents moved the family to North Phoenix. Having grown up in the diverse multicultural neighborhoods of South Phoenix, Amanda took some time to grow accustomed to the overwhelming Anglo population of her school. They dressed differently and they talked differently. She was still very young, so Amanda had an easier time adapting to new things, but her brothers who were in high school had a harder time changing. At an early age, she was able to straddle the differences between South Phoenix and North Phoenix, and she maintains friendships from both communities to this day.
(6:48 in the video)
Guerrero remembered that her father was away a lot, so when he came back on the weekends, he was the “angel” and cool parent since he let them get away with stuff. That left her mother to be the strict one since she was alone to raise 6 kids by herself. Since there were so many kids, some were in charge of others. Amanda’s oldest brother took on the task of looking over her. In some favorite family photos, Amanda has five pigtails because her brother, while braiding her hair, decided to experiment. Today, Amanda’s siblings are still very close and all are successful. Out of the 6 children, 3 have college degrees and one accomplished their dream of working in the airport.
Guerrero went on to achieve a lot academically. She holds two Master’s Degrees and on doctoral degree, all from Arizona State University. And she doesn’t plan to stop there. She hopes to one day got to law school. Even though she is a Principal now, she loves school and always wants to take more classes. Just like her mother, she wanted to be a teacher as well as a loving and devoted mom herself. Guerrero is most proud that she is living the legacy of her parents. Even as an adult student, she tried to prioritize her own children’s needs. So, she often did her school work when the kids were in bed, so that she didn’t lose time with her family.
Guerrero feels very content with where she is right now. She said that if she could change anything from the past it would have been some smarter financial decisions. When asked if she would have been different if she lived in a different area and her response was she didn’t know if it would affect how he parents raised her and taught her as she grew up. She didn’t know if he area could change what she learned form them. Amanda still has this question today because she has family members that stayed in South Phoenix and didn’t have such a good future, but she doesn’t know if it was just how they were brought up. “Is it nurture versus nature”. She would hope that more people knew about the traditions and rich history.
When it comes to South Phoenix, Amanda thinks fondly about the people, the neighborhoods, and the flower gardens on Baseline Road. “There were flowers everywhere.” She remembers smelling flowers from afar.
A note from her daughter, the interviewer: Amanda has done a lot with her life and it’s so interesting how she had both views from when she was in South Phoenix and when she had moved out of it. I also thought it was so fascinating how she moved back as an adult with her own family. Just the fact that she is living a legacy is so amazing and appreciated and we thank her for being an educator.
|Birthdate||May 12, 1968|
|Place of Origin||South Phoenix, Arizona|
|Place of Residence||South Phoenix, Arizona|
|Interview Conducted||March 4, 2021|
|Interview conducted by||Student Researcher: Kiara Guerrero|
|Story written by||Student Researcher: Kiara Guerrero|