I was born in Bogota, Colombia. At the age of five, my mother and I moved to New York to live with my father who had immigrated a few years before. I received all my education in New York, being placed in classes where I didn’t understand the language or the customs of an American school system. Eventually, with the encouraging words of my sixth grade teacher, I was able to see my potential and realize I could accomplish great things.
I graduated high school in 1992 and went to Queens College, where I majored in English and Secondary Education, receiving my bachelor’s degree in 1997. From there, I attended Long Island University, CW Post, where I received my Master’s degree in Instructional Curriculum and Design in 1998.
I first worked at Gateway High School, having been directly assigned by the NY State Board of Education to work at this challenging school in Queens based on a strong recommendation from Queens College. After working there for a year, I moved to Utah with my family. I began working for Alpine School District (ASD) the next year in Mountain View High School, as a new English and ESL teacher. While there, I helped develop the ASD ESL program throughout the district. I also helped develop the Latinos in Action (LIA) program while there, as well as being the first teacher to implement the program in ASD. Additionally, I developed the school’s ESL program and served as department head for ESL. In 2008, I was honored to receive the ASD Alpine Foundation teacher of the year award as well as the Utah Valley University Latino Educator Award.
In 2009 I moved to Westlake High School, much nearer to my home, when it first opened. While there, I specialized in English, ESL, and LIA. I served as the 10th grade team lead while simultaneously serving as the district ESL department head for secondary schools. I served on the LIA board of directors and helped train new LIA teachers not only in ASD but in other districts, as well.
In 2013, I was recommended to be the new ASD Educational Equity Specialist. While in this district role, I developed the Migrant Education Program, took over the Civil Rights data completion report for ASD, implemented civil right compliance regarding translations and interpretations, implemented district-level mandated diversity training, and became certified by the Utah State Board of Education to become a Respecting Ethnic and Cultural Heritage (REACH) trainer for teachers throughout Utah.
I am most proud of the influence I’ve had to increase awareness throughout ASD of the needs of our diverse student population and play a significant role in implementing programs and leading training that will help ensure that our students receive the assistance they need to realize their potential and be successful community leaders.