• Portrait of Richard Ortega Director of Special Education


    Richard Ortega
    Special Education Department                   
    Academics Services Division

     Mr. Ortega has 22 years of educational experience in which he has served as classroom teacher for 5 ½ years,   Adjunct Professor/Lecturer at the university level for 16 years and as the Director of Special Education for 15 years. 

    Throughout his educational career, Mr. Ortega has developed an extensive knowledge and background in special education law, policy, procedures, programs and services for students with special needs.  During his 15 years as a Special Education Director, Mr. Ortega has built strong leadership skills, quality and effective programs and services for students with disabilities.  At the same time, he has developed strong and effective relationships with administrators, staff and parents by communicating and collaborating with them on various issues and programs pertaining to the education of all children.

    Mr. Ortega started his professional career in the United States Army, where he served overseas and state side.  During his final year in the military at Fort Hood, Texas, he was assigned as the personal driver for the Command Sergeant Major of the 31st ADA Brigade.  After serving in the military, Mr. Ortega began his educational career as a special education teacher for the Socorro Independent School District where he worked at O’Shea Keleher and Sierra Vista Elementary.  While at Sierra Vista Elementary, Mr. Ortega earned accolades for his work in inclusion for students with disabilities, as he was named Sierra Vista Elementary Teacher of the Year, Socorro Elementary Teacher of the Year and was a Region 19 Teacher of the Year Finalist.  During his tenure as the Director of Special Education, Mr. Ortega has helped develop and implement various instructional programs and related services with the assistance of teachers, staff and administrators.  He is also in charge of overseeing the Campus Section 504 Services and the District Dyslexia Program.  Five years ago, Mr. Ortega was given the charge to implement and oversee the training of all instructional staff in Differentiated Instruction and this past year, he was asked to develop a training program on Co-teaching with the collaboration of classroom teachers in order to provide staff development for inclusion teams this upcoming school year.  

    Mr. Ortega earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and graduated as an Outstanding Graduate from UTEP in 1999.  After earning his Master’s Degree, he was invited to interview for a teaching position at UTEP and has been a part time instructor for the Educational Psychology Department for the past 16 years.  Mr. Ortega, a proud class of 86 graduate of Socorro ISD, has two boys, Dimitrius and Gianni James, both of whom attend Socorro schools.  

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