When I arrived in Oregon in 1971 as a college student I didn't have the family experience to help me navigate the higher educational system. My parents believed that education would bring opportunities that would make a difference in my life but they didn't know how to help. As the first member of my family to graduate from college, I have had the advantages that only education can provide. I entered the field of education and as a young professional I was committed to helping young people get opportunities to pursue their educational dreams just as I had. This was important to me because during my high school years I had a teacher who told me that I would never make it to college. This statement alone pushed me to prove him wrong. Many years later I had the opportunity to let him know I made it.
I began my career working with Migrant Education programs in Jackson and Marion County Education Service Districts to assist families navigate the education system and support students to graduate.
I bring over thirty years of experience leading and administering public sector and community-based programs. Currently, as a public health professional, I recognize that the ties to health and education are inseparable. I am dedicated to working in partnership with others to ensure all students have the best educational opportunities in Portland Public Schools. I am committed to finding opportunities to help make a difference for all children and families in our community.
I currently serve on the Board of Directors for All Hands Raised (formally Portland School's Foundation) and Co-chair of the Cradle to Career Steering Committee; the TriMet Board of Directors and am a co-founder and Board member of the Oregon Latino Agenda for Action (OLAA). Over the years I have honed my leadership skills through my involvement in The Legacy Program for State and Local Public Service Leaders and most recently through the Oregon EMERGE class 2010 and the American Leadership Forum 2011. I am currently a participant in the first state-wide Latino UNID@s Leadership Cohort.
I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Southern Oregon State College and Master's Degree in Public Administration through the National Urban Fellows, City University New York, Baruch College.
My family, Suzanne, my partner of 25 years and our teenage daughter, Antonia, live in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood. Antonia's teenage outlook provides me with a look into the future of our community influenced by the "millennium" generation.