Latinos for Education Welcomes Three New Additions to Board of Directors, Increases Notable Group of Education Advocates

From left to right: Margarita Florez Vasconcelos, Manny Rivera and Maria Orozco.

From left to right: Margarita Florez Vasconcelos, Manny Rivera and Maria Orozco.

BOSTON, MALatinos for Education, the nation’s first Latino-led organization focused on increasing the voice and leadership of Latinos within the education sector, announced the addition of three new members to their Board of Directors- Margarita Florez Vasconcelos, strategic advisor at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Maria Orozco, partner at The Bridgespan Group; and Manny Rivera, principal at RALLY. The three will bring a set of unique and useful perspectives to the board that will help Latinos for Education move their mission of developing, placing and connecting essential Latino leaders in the education sector forward, and creating equitable education experiences for Latino students.    

Florez Vasconcelos has spent 20 years in education as a teacher, principal, district leader, non-profit leader, and funder and currently supports funders and organizations in aligning their actions with their mission and spoken values. She played a vital role in leading educator capacity funding at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, aided the NYC Department of Education and Teach For America in redesigning school and program models, and launched independent school networks in India, Indonesia, and Mexico. Passionate about giving Latino students and educators a platform to succeed, she was also the founding principal of KIPP Comienza Community Prep, a national blue ribbon school, where 85% of the staff were women of color. 

“Representation is needed, but it is not enough. Latinos for Education is not just working to close the Latinx representation gaps that exist, they are also employing inclusive and participatory practices,” said Florez Vasconcelos. “They are centering the voices and experiences of Latinx students, parents and teachers. They are letting them be the leading foot to change, and I’m excited to help the organization grow this work.”  

Orozco joined The Bridgespan Group in 2006 and has helped lead a variety of nonprofit and foundation strategy engagements, with a focus on strategy and organizational development. Most recently, Orozco served as the Executive Director of Data and Policy for Newark Public Schools, New Jersey’s largest public school district serving more than 35,000 students. Orozco has published recommendations for improving higher education in Colombia and advised an innovative high school on ways to improve college guidance services for Latino students. As a district leader in New Jersey’s largest school district, Orozco believes that investing in the next generation of Latino leaders is crucial.

“I have had the opportunity to witness the tremendous growth in impact and influence that Latinos for Education has had on issues of equity in education over the past several years,” said Orozco. “I am eager to be a part of a powerful force in advocating for meaningful and sustainable change because as a Latina myself, I have experienced the power and support of mentors, training, and a network of peers – and hope to enable that for others.” 

Rivera currently serves as a Principal at RALLY, an issues drive communication firm, and is a leader in utilizing strategic communications to serve a range of high-profile national nonprofit organizations, foundations, and philanthropists. At RALLY, he works with a range of education clients committed to equity and ensuring that students are always at the center of any decision around education. Prior to joining Rally, Rivera was responsible for crafting and implementing communications campaigns and strategies supporting the business imperatives for multiple Fortune 20 companies. As an immigrant and Californian for most of his adult life, Rivera recognizes the importance of Latino representation and equity in our nation’s education systems.  

“There is great opportunity at this moment to ensure that the Latino community is receiving equitable education at all levels,” said Rivera. “Because Latinos are a growing population, and because there is no other organization like Latinos for Education that has a seat at the table, it felt very critical to be a part of this organization. I am confident in their commitment to increasing equity and making long-lasting impacts on students, educators, and the overall quality of Latino education- including students who look like the student I once was.”  

Launched in 2016, Latinos for Education now has staff in Massachusetts, Texas and California and oversees fellowship programs in each state that seek to elevate the voice of Latino leaders and parents within the education sector. The organization also has a network of 381 alumni nationwide, and a virtual community of over 2,000 Latinx leaders interested in careers within the education sector as part of EdCentro. Their policy and advocacy work at the state and national level is informed by Latino educators and leaders aiming to provide the promise of education equity to all Latinx students.  

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About Latinos for Education:

Latinos for Education is an education non-profit organization focused on developing, placing, and connecting essential Latino talent in the education sector. The organization is mobilizing a network of skilled education leaders to ensure the voice of students and families is not only heard but factored into decision-making in schools, communities and education institutions throughout the U.S. The organization also ensures Latino education professionals have access to a nationwide network of peers as well as career and professional development opportunities across the country through the members-only EdCentro network. For more information visit: https://www.latinosforeducation.org.


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