Latino Leaders Share Reflections from ASU+GSV Summit

By: RD Leyva

ASU GSV Summit

It is no secret great leaders are at the center of great schools. Yet, for many high-performing principals and district leaders, it is difficult to step away from their day-to-day responsibilities and focus on their own professional development. But last week, seven Latino leaders from our national network attended the ASU + GSV Summit to learn and discuss strategies for increasing learning and career outcomes through scaled innovation.

The ASU + GSV Summit is coordinated through a partnership between Arizona State University and Global Silicon Valley. The conference, which took place in San Diego this year, brought together over 4,000 leaders in education and technology for this annual convening.

For the second consecutive year, Latinos for Education worked with the team at the ASU+GSV Summit to ensure more Latino leaders have access to this unique conference opportunity. We identified Latino principals and district leaders from our national network and seven were awarded generous conference scholarships covering fees and travel costs; mitigating the most common barriers to entry. The following Latino leaders attended the conference on behalf of Latinos for Education.

Candice Castillo, Senior Manager of Family and Community Empowerment at Houston ISD
Dr. Karla Estrada, Deputy Superintendent at Boston Public Schools
Juan Carlos Martinez, Principal at The Next Step Public Charter School
Modesto Montero, Principal at Libertas Academy Charter School
Jesús Rodríguez, Principal at Denver Public Schools
Rick Rodriguez, Academic Program Manager at Houston ISD
Anibal Soler Jr., Principal at Buffalo Public Schools

Following the Summit experience, participants shared their reflections about the conference.


The most beneficial aspect of the experience was visiting local campuses and learning about the different approaches to blended and project-based learning. – Rick Rodriguez, Houston, TX.

One of the general sessions focused on emotional intelligence and it is important for me as an educational leader to ensure I am more cognizant of what I need to do to take care of myself so I can better lead others. More importantly, it underscores the necessary opportunities and supports we must provide staff and students. – Jesús Rodríguez, Denver, CO.

One major theme from the conference is the voice and experiences of individuals of color is still very absent and/or minimal. The lack of diversity was discussed as a problem, but many organizations are still not intentional in addressing this gap. – Anibal Soler Jr., Buffalo, NY.


Closing the opportunity gap among our most marginalized students is a top priority for me as an educational leader. The conference had multiple panelists and speakers discussing the future workforce, skills needed, and innovative ways to ensure students have these experiences. As a Latina working in education, we must be viewed as leading this future for students and bringing these innovations to our educational systems. – Dr. Karla Estrada, Boston, MA.

Latino leaders have a more direct connection with the needs of Latino and other minority students and are more aware of the technology barriers faced by Latino learners. We need to have our voices heard so these barriers are taken into consideration in the research, design and production of technology tools and resources. – Juan Carlos Martinez, Washington, DC.


As Latino leaders, we consistently talk about having a seat at the table, so let’s make it an active opportunity. Our network is about developing leaders so let’s commit to both qualitative and quantitative actions to support one another. We need to roll-up our sleeves and continue to find ways to change the narrative so we can impact our kids and communities in meaningful ways. – Candice Castillo, Houston, TX.

It is clear from these reflections that Latino voices and perspectives are one key element needed to ensure we achieve equitable outcomes for students. At Latinos for Education, we are intentional about ensuring Latino leaders have more access to opportunities where they can use their voice as advocates for our community.

As our national network grows, we are continuing to seek catalytic professional development opportunities for our members. Our Talent Hub is an online platform where Latino education leaders can join our network to access professional opportunities and stay connected to one another. Joining our network is free for anyone who identifies as Latino and works in the education sector so share our work with your Latino friends and colleagues.