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Inaugural cohort of Latinx leaders selected for new Education Equity Fellowship

The following is a press release from LatinxEd.

Para leer este comunicado de prensa en español, haga clic aquí.


LatinxEd is pleased to announce the first cohort of the LatinxEd Fellowship. With the support of the John M. Belk Endowment, the Fellowship offers a six-month immersive learning opportunity to Latinx educational leaders who demonstrate alignment with the mission, vision, and beliefs of LatinxEd, are committed to positive racial and ethnic identity development for Latinx families in the rural South, and are actively working to advance access to opportunity in North Carolina.

This cohort was selected from the Western, Northwestern, Piedmont Triad, and North Central regions of the state. The selection process was highly competitive, with just 15 fellows selected from nearly 70 applicants. Through this Fellowship, LatinxEd seeks to build a trusted network of Latinx education leaders with a shared vision and desire to work together to create a more inclusive and equitable education system in North Carolina.

“Opportunities like the LatinxEd Fellowship are essential to investing and amplifying Latinx leadership across our state,” said Ricky Hurtado, co-founder and director of advancement of LatinxEd. “To meet the new challenges of a growing multicultural state, we need these visionary Latinx education leaders and innovators at the table helping us reimagine how we meet the diverse needs of our students and families.”

Throughout the Fellowship, LatinxEd fellows will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to participate in education advocacy and gain leadership experience as practitioners. While remaining in their field or profession, they will receive ongoing leadership coaching and strategic communications support, alongside access to key educational leaders in North Carolina.

The first cohort of LatinxEd Fellows puts to rest the misconception that the Latinx community is a monolith. Within this cohort, there is an abundance of backgrounds and leadership experiences, including topics like early childhood education, school administration, postsecondary educational attainment, immigration, arts education, mental health, and neurological diversity.

“This immersive learning opportunity will empower Fellows in taking the next step in their leadership journey and joining LatinxEd in advocating on behalf of the Latinx community,” said Elaine Townsend Utin, co-Founder and executive director of LatinxEd. “We are looking forward to building this network of Latinx education leaders who are ready to lead our state into embracing a diverse, multicultural 21st century school system.”

The 2021 cohort of the LatinxEd Fellowship is:

  • Amanda Serrano (Browns Summit, NC; Colombia) – Founder, CEO, and Psychotherapist of Sunrise Amanecer Inc.
  • Barbie Garayúa-Tudryn (Chapel Hill, NC; Puerto Rico) – School Counselor at Frank Porter Graham Bilingüe and Founder of Mariposas.
  • Byron Tenesaca (Arden, NC; Ecuador) – Spanish Teacher and High School Equivalency Test Teacher at Clyde A. Erwin High School and Visual Artist.
  • Christian Walter (Greensboro, NC; Argentina) – Principal at High Point Newcomers School and Coach for the NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) English Learners (EL) Support Team.
  • Elmer Orellana (Durham, NC; El Salvador) – Assistant Director of the Center for Multicultural Affairs at Duke University.
  • Flor Herrera-Picasso (Wilson, NC; Mexico) – Co-Founder of Casa Azul de Wilson.
  • Jose Perez (Sylva, NC; Mexico) – Rural Bilingual Victim Advocate at the 30th Judicial District Alliance, Inc.
  • Juana Hernández Urquiza (Raleigh, NC; Mexico) – State Representative for Spanish Services at College Foundation of North Carolina (CFNC).
  • María Hofman Hernandez (Newland, NC; El Salvador) – Doctoral Candidate in Educational Leadership, Interdisciplinary Studies at Appalachian State University.
  • Marisa Gonzalez (Greensboro, NC; Mexico) – University Program Associate of the University Teaching & Learning Commons (UTLC) at UNC Greensboro.
  • Meytal Barak (Durham, NC; Venezuela and Nicaragua) – Associate Director for Early Literacy at Book Harvest.
  • Selina Lopez (Holly Springs, NC; Mexico) – Youth Leadership Program Director at El Vínculo Hispano/The Hispanic Liaison.
  • Victoria Crouse (Raleigh, NC; Mexico) – Public Policy Analyst and NC KIDS COUNT Project Director at NC Child.
  • Yolanda Adams (Boone, NC; Colombia) – Family Resource Coordinator at Watauga County Schools And Co-Founder of Q’ Pasa Appalachia.
  • Yuliana Rodriguez (Hillsborough, NC; Mexico) – Clinical Assistant Professor of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

About LatinxEd: LatinxEd is a educational non-profit committed to investing in Latinx leadership and expanding educational equity and opportunity in North Carolina. LatinxEd envisions culturally-sustaining education systems that recognize, meet, and honor the diverse needs of Latinx immigrant families. Their programming and advocacy create pathways to educational, professional, and civic engagement opportunities for a new generation of Latinx leaders in North Carolina.

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