State Reps. Priscila Sousa, Frank Moran and Sen. Sal DiDomenico were honored for their commitment to advancing educational opportunities for Latino students during Latinos for Education’s 2023 State of Latino Education event. Salem Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Stephen Zrike, and 26 Latino educators were also honored during the event for their life-changing work to inspire and support Latino students.
State of Latino Education was launched by Latinos for Education in 2021 as a way to bring attention to the progress that Latinos are making in education, as well as spotlight the barriers that Latino students and educators continue to face across the Commonwealth when it comes to accessing high-quality education programs and opportunities. The event has grown into the largest gathering of Latino leaders focused on education in Massachusetts. This year’s event featured a roundtable discussion with leaders from the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College, MassInc, and Lynn Public Schools on the state’s efforts to diversify its educator workforce, and innovative strategies to support more Latino students to access and enroll in college.
“Latino students make up 25 percent of all students in our Commonwealth, but that number jumps to 40 percent in Boston Public Schools, 69 percent in Springfield, and 94 percent in Lawrence – which means the future of our workforce and economy is intrinsically tied to how well school districts prepare Latino students to succeed,” said Amanda Fernandez, CEO of Latinos for Education. “It’s time we lean into what works for Latinos, such as increasing the number of Latino students who participate in early college programs, connecting Latino students to career pathways in high school, and ensuring Latino students see themselves reflected in the teachers and school leaders they work with daily.”
Rep. Frank Moran and Sen. Sal DiDomenico were honored with the “Educator Diversity Champion Award” for their unwavering commitment to ensuring every student sees themselves represented in the classroom. Rep. Priscilla Sousa was honored with “La Promesa Award,” which recognizes a rising Latino legislator who upholds the promise of educational equity by advocating for Latino students, families, and educators. Meanwhile Dr. Stephen Zrike, Superintendent of Schools in Salem, received the “La Lucha Award,” which recognizes an exceptional administrator committed to the fight for educational equity in their district.
Latinos for Education partnered with legislators in both chambers of the Massachusetts Legislature to honor Latino educators within their districts who are helping their students succeed and persevere in the classroom. The 26 Latino educators honored during the celebration, and the legislators who nominated them include:
• Isela Rivera (Fort River Elementary School) presented by Rep. Domb and Sen. Comerford
• Cynthia Mendes Rivas (Boston Public Schools) presented by Rep. Mendes, Rep. Montaño, Rep. Biel and Sen. Edwards
• Ricardo Perez (East Boston High School) presented by Rep. Madaro and Sen. Edwards
• Camilo Machado (Sokolowski Elementary School) presented by Rep. Garcia • Obed Morales (Chelsea High School) presented by Rep.Garcia
• Jeanette Velez (Everett Public Schools) presented by Rep. Garcia and Rep. McGonagle
• Rosa Milette (McKay Elementary School) presented by Rep. Kushmerek and Sen. Cronin
• Digna Hernandez (Peck Middle School) presented by Sen.Velis
• Zaida Cruz (Holyoke High School) presented by Sen. Velis
• Nelly Garcia Santana (Haverhill High School) by Rep. Vargas and Sen. Pavel Payano
• Solangi Tavarez (Spark Academy) presented by Rep. Frank Moran, Representative Reyes, Representative Paulino, and Sen. Paynao
• Euclides Pichardo (Greater Lawrence Technical School) presented by Francis Munro on behalf of Rep. and Sen. Payano
• Gary Torres (Lynn Public Schools) presented by Rep. Capano and Rep. Cahill
• Ivette Martinez (Lynn Public Schools) presented by Rep. Cahill and Rep. Capano
• Emelys Pena presented by Rep. Ulltrino, Rep. Donato, and Sen. Lewis
• Caridad Lopez (Stacy Middle School) presented by Rep. Lewis
• Mercy Nunez (Normandin Middle School) presented by Rep. Strauss and Sen. Montigny
• Gisette Mejias (Alfred J. Gomes Elementary) presented by Rep. Strauss and Sen. Montigny
• Catarina Veludo-Bovio (Peabody Veterans Memorial High School) presented by Sen. Lovely
• Tiago Gadens (Framingham Public Schools) presented by Rep. Priscila Sousa, Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, Rep. Danielle Gregoire and Senator Karen Spilka
• Odelia Smith (Collins Middle School) presented by Rep. Cruz
• Janet Garcia (Bentley Academy Innovation School) presented by Rep. Cruz
• Aileene Martinez (East Somerville Community School) presented by Rep. Barber
• Cynthia Escribano (Gerena Community School) presented by Rep. Gonzales and Senator Gomez
• Dr. Rachel Monarrez (Worcester Public Schools) presented by Rep. Dan Donahue, Rep. O’Day, Rep. Donahue, Rep. Keefe, and Rep. Mahoney
• Nancy Reyes (McAuliffe Elementary School) presented by Rep. Elliot.