MARIA RUELAS, Ed.D ’18, MSW ’13, ACSW, PPSC
For the past six years, Maria Ruelas has served as the District Social Worker for the Lawndale Elementary School District (LESD). She has become a leader in the field of social work and education by redefining her role in school settings. With the support of the Director of Student Support Services, Dr. Ruelas has changed the infrastructure of the LESD’s schools by working alongside eight school social workers and partnering with more than ten community mental health agencies and universities to address the social and emotional needs of the Lawndale community. Dr. Ruelas has also enabled the LESD to become a Teaching Institute supervising more than 60 master-level social work interns every year. Interns and students at LESD are provided with the latest evidenced-based, data-driven frameworks to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase schools’ sense of safety and support in turn, resulting in improved academic outcomes.
Maria returned to her alma mater, University of Southern California (USC) and recently earned her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership concentrating on Educational Psychology. Prior to entering the doctoral program, Maria earned her master’s degree, Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA) and Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credentials at the USC School of Social Work.