Lorenzo Cabrera

Degree/Area of Study

Associate of Arts degree in General Studies

Class of Year
Principal of Franklin Police and Fire High School
Changing lives through Education
Phoenix Union High School District

Lorenzo Cabrera is the Principal at Franklin Police and Fire High School – part of the Phoenix Union High School District. The school is one of a handful of Arizona schools to hold a National Blue Ribbon School award, given by former U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.

Cabrera, who received an Associate of Arts in General Studies from EMCC in 1996, touts some of the high school’s other accomplishments. “We are a Gold Medal Beat-the-Odds School, and an “A-rated” school since the inception of the state's accountability rating. Furthermore, we are ranked as one of the nation’s best high schools as reported by U.S. News and World Report.”

This EMCC alumni has been in education the last 18 years, spending the last 9 in the role of principal. He cites his time spent at the Avondale campus as integral to his career path. “I truly believe Estrella Mountain Community College and the faculty and staff were instrumental in assisting me finding my calling,” he says. “Individuals like Adolfo Gamez, Homero Lopez, Ernie Lara, Cheryl Bradshaw, Debbie Pina, Pearl Williams, and John Bradley changed my life and the trajectory of my future.”

Cabrera likens to the experience to realizing the value in familial type bonds, and how that helped him succeed, as well as how it positively affects the relationships he has in his current role with students, faculty, and staff. “Had it not been for the numerous opportunities and the relationships I discovered at Estrella, I would not have realized my full potential,” he tells us. “I found a family at Estrella, who truly believed in me. I will never forget my experiences at Estrella as these experiences and relationships serve as a model as to how I now create life-changing educational experiences and opportunities for all kids and build positive meaningful relationships in my current role as principal.”

Along with developing a style of exemplary conduct, Cabrera has a lot of hands-on experience in his educational career that makes him a valuable resource to those he encounters at work daily, and in the community, as he promotes the benefits of every level of education.

At EMCC, he was part of MECHA and the Honors Program, and he also worked in the fiscal office, highlighting the ever-present need of students to balance education and employment simultaneously.

Those endeavors that he began at EMCC continued after he transferred to ASU West to major in secondary education. “I found my calling while completing my service-learning project in my communications class at Estrella with Ms. Bradshaw. My service-learning project was tutoring students at Avondale Elementary (the same school I attended). I tutored a group of fourth graders in math, science and reading. The work I did with them changed my life,” Cabrera says, adding, “This experience catapulted me into my calling.”

It was assisting students that solidified his pursuit of an education degree. “Helping students who shared similar academic struggles as I did, provided me with the motivation to pursue an education degree which in turn would enable me to help young students like myself realize their potential as well.”

Cabrera loved being a teacher but saw the potential of being on the administration side of the equation. “I quickly learned that as a principal I would be able to effectively change or impact the entire school community and not just the students in my classroom. That is why I perused a master’s in Educational Leadership through NAU.  My future goal at that time was to become a principal where I would be able to strategically implement systemic, academic and cultural changes school wide that would positively impact all students.” 

Principal Cabrera is looking forward to the future, especially in his professional role. “My career goals are to continue the work that I was introduced to at Estrella Mountain Community College; and that is – Changing Lives!”