2021 PRACTITIONER MENTORS
Melissa Alcala (she/her/hers)
Melissa is Naakáí Bilagáana born for Honágháahnii Kinyaa'áanii Naakáí-dine’é. In this way, she is a Diné (Navajo) woman. Melissa strives to decolonize the curriculum in public schools by including various indigenous voices and writers to the literary canon, by lending an indigenous perspective to viewing and understanding the world, and by providing a safe communal space in the classroom that is reflective of Indigenous core values. She strives to reverse the disproportionate representation of people of color in the educational field by finding ways to maintain teacher retention and support all stakeholders to advocate, spread awareness, and bring social justice topics to the forefront of their schools.
Guadalupe Carrasco Cardona (she/her/ella)
Lupe has been an Ethnic Studies, Theater and English teacher for 21 years. She is also an adjunct lecturer at CSULB in the Chicano Latino Studies Department. Much of her work in Ethnic Studies has been in organizing in grassroots organizations such as the Association of Raza Educators and Ethnic Studies Now. She is a co-founder of the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Coalition.
Christian Citlali (he/him/his)
Social Worker Mentor
I am a social worker and mental health wellness practitioner with a passion for social justice, community empowerment, and commitment to challenging health and mental health disparities that impact BIPOC and QTPOC people. My work is informed by using critical race theory and decolonization practices to create accessible and equitable services that embrace identity, culture, and healing.
Elvia Hernandez (she/her)
School Psychologist/Counselor Mentor
I am a school psychologist in a high school working with students of varied ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds as well as students with disabilities. I support them with social, emotional or academic needs. In the community, I have worked in recreational parks to help reduce gang violence in low-income and Latino neighborhoods. I am currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology.
Taunya Jaco (she/her/hers)
Taunya Jaco, a 6th grade ELA/Social Studies teacher, served as a member of CTA’s review committee of the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum. She is pursuing her doctorate of education at San Jose State University, where she is conducting a qualitative study on the implementation of Ethnic Studies in K-12 schools. Taunya is a member of the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Institute.
Robert J. Levi, II
Robert J. Levi, II is a tribal member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, past Chair of the California Teachers Association American Indian/Alaska Native Caucus, and a Malki Museum Press Board Member.
Wendy Lucia Lozano (she/her)
Wendy Lucia Lozano is a Chicana LAUSD/UTLA elementary educator that advocates for Ethnic Studies to be integrated throughout the K-12 curriculum. She creates her own Ethnic Studies lessons aligned with state standards to engage her students in multiple subjects. Her goal is to decolonize the K-12 curriculum nationwide.
Melina Melgoza (she/her/hers)
Melina Melgoza is a public school teacher, activist, and writer. As a teacher, she works to develop students' critical consciousness through Ethnic Studies. As an activist, she fights for a more just world. As a writer, she brings her words to life to tell her stories.
She holds a BA in History and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Masters in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Melina Melgoza has been a fellow of the UCLA Writing Project and received numerous awards for her teaching. She is most recently published in "Unmuted: Voices of Resistance and Resilience," through the UCLA Writing Invitational and self-published her own book, "Border Scars."
Vivian Nguyễn (she/her)
Vivian Nguyễn is the daughter of two Vietnamese/Chinese immigrants and a first-generation college graduate. Her teaching philosophy centers identity, empowerment, and reimagining the traditional education system where individuals can be their whole selves.
Angelica Posadas (she/her/hers)
San Francisco born and bred, true and through! Loyal to her soil and the roots that raised her. Angelica is committed to providing a safe space for all San Francisco youth to engage in critical dialogue to become their true authentic self. Her work supports BIPOC students, educators, and school counselors, to highlight the importance of mental health and anti-racist practices. She is a Mama-scholar to Ava & Ayson whom she credits to being the best version of herself!
Kimberly Young (she/her)
I LOVE Ethnic Studies. I have taught Ethnic Studies at the high school level in multiple contexts in both Northern and Southern California. Centering historically marginalized voices is so necessary for our transformation and liberation. Ethnic Studies as a class and movement gives me hope for our future.