Welcome to the Con Ganas We Can Blog

Con Ganas We Can is a blog dedicated to amplifying the Latino voice in the education sector. The purpose of this blog is to bring attention to the work of Latino leaders at forefront of education issues.

We know Latino leaders are making significant contributions across the education sector, yet their voices are not always included in dialogue about education. Con Ganas We Can is a collection of insights and stories that spotlights a diverse group of Latino leaders working in schools, districts and other education organizations. This blog includes viewpoints on Latino leadership in education and highlights the work of Latino leaders collectively pursuing a more equitable education for students across the country. By following this blog, you can expect to learn more about inpiring leaders in the Latinos for Education network and how their backgrounds and experiences inform their leadership and amplify their impact.

Our blog is titled Con Ganas We Can  the expression “con ganas” means to act with passion and conviction. This phrase fuels our work at Latinos for Education because we believe that Latino students and families deserve advocates who work wholeheartedly alongside them. Working “con ganas” is an organizational value at Latinos for Education – underscoring all our efforts.

L4E Graphic - Con Ganas - Navy

In the coming months, we will highlight members of the Latinos for Education network by featuring guest bloggers making an impact in education. If you are interested in contributing to this blog, please contact us at info@latinosforeducation.org.

Latinos for Education is a network of education leaders dedicated to elevating the voice, leadership and influence of the Latino community. Our members make up a coalition of Latinos that serve as teachers, administrators, nonprofit leaders, executives, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, researchers, policy makers, and community organizers. If you identify as Latino and want to create more equitable opportunities for Latino students, we invite you to join this community by creating a profile here.

If you would like to stay connected to our work via our newsletter, you can sign up here.

If you enjoy reading the content on our blog, please share it widely via email or social media.


Three Ways To Keep More Low-Income and First-Generation Students in College
By: Tina Fernandez | September 1, 2020
Despite the impacts of the pandemic, schools and direct service organizations can deploy interventions to help low-income and first-generation students achieve college success.

National Education Principles: Tackling the Teacher-Student Diversity Gap — What Happens When We Only Provide Windows
By: Jessica Camacho | August 25, 2020
The teacher-student diversity gap is a point of analysis for us to explore further and begs us to ask, if we only provide windows for our students, what vision are we denying?

An Educator’s Guide to Cultivating a Digital Presence with Purpose
By: Dr. Vanessa Monterosa | August 4, 2020
Having a digital presence with purpose is critical to our development as 21st-century education leaders and includes contribution, community, and connection.

The Role of Familia in Digital Citizenship and Navigating Remote Learning
By: Dr. Vanessa Monterosa | July 23, 2020
School districts put policies in place to support the development of media and digitally literate students, but what is the family’s role in supporting this work?

A Virtual New Deal: Put Americans to Work Now by Preparing our Education Infrastructure for the Second Wave of COVID-19
By: Andy Canales | July 14, 2020
Today, we don’t need physical infrastructure – we need virtual infrastructure for our schools and socio-emotional infrastructure for our students.

Latinx: The Expendables of the COVID-19 Crisis
By: Amanda Fernandez | July 7, 2020
To stop the exacerbation of learning gaps, we must prioritize our most vulnerable children during planning for school re-entry in the fall.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling To Protect DACA Helps Strengthen and Diversify the Fabric of America 
By: Andy Canales | June 30, 2020
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling against the rescission of DACA means the fabric of our country stays intact for a while longer.

¡Presente!  Reflections of a Latina State Board Member
By: Dr. Feliza Ortiz-Licon | June 23, 2020
When Dr. Feliza Ortiz-Licon became a board member, she felt the pressure to magnify the needs of her community while giving voice and visibility to the issues that can only be tangible when they form part of your lived experiences.

What I’ve Learned as a White-Presenting Latina and a Call to Non-Black Latinx to Engage in the Fight for Racial Equity
By: Lorena Lopera | June 17, 2020
Just as I call on my white allies, I am asking all non-Black Latinos to engage in the struggle for justice for our Black and Afro-Latinx brothers and sisters.

It Begins at Home: Difficult Conversations with Latino Family and Friends Surrounding Racism and #BlackLivesMatter
By: Dr. Daniel Velasco | June 9, 2020
Our stories are and will continue to be interrelated with those of the Black community in America so I’m sharing questions to facilitate conversation with family and friends.

Stand with the AAPI Community to Combat Covid-19 Hate
By: Dr. Nancy B. Gutiérrez  | May 26, 2020
Our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) brothers and sisters are a target, blamed for bringing to the U.S. COVID-19 and as educators, we can and must disrupt hate.

Latinos for Education Launches a Virtual Summer Leadership Collaborative in Response to COVID-19
By: Daniel Velasco | May 19, 2020
Designed as a premiere leadership fellowship for Latinx educators in their first few years of teaching, the Virtual Summer Leadership Collaborative will provide a national cohort of 20-30 Latinx elementary school teachers serving large ELL populations with the networks, problem-solving tools for re-entry, and identity-based career coaching to reinvest participants in the teaching profession.

Giving Tuesday Now: Support Latinx Educators in Times of Hardship
By: Amanda Fernandez | May 5, 2020
As COVID-19 takes its toll on our Latino students and families across the country, we need to support leaders on the front lines of providing educational and emotional support to Latino students.

COVID-19 Presents an Opportunity for Higher Education Student Equity: Test-Optional Policies for all Colleges
By: Daniel Lopez | April 22, 2020
Many students already face barriers to higher education, including college admissions testing. Is COVID-19 an opportunity to remove this barrier?

Best Practices for Educating Latinx Students During the COVID-19 Crisis from School Districts Across the U.S. 
By: Samantha Ader | April 14, 2020
As we aim to help English Language Learners access resources during COVID-19, school districts across the country are finding ways to meet their needs.

VIDEO: Apoyando La Educación En Casa 
By: Arlene Sanchez y Elysa Severinghaus | April 7, 2020
La conversación toca varios temas incluyendo prácticas sencillas para apoyar la educación en casa y recomendaciones para colaborar o comunicarse con las escuelas y maestros.

Will the Education System Pivot Fast Enough for Post COVID-19 Learning?
By: Daniel Velasco | March 31, 2020
Research shows students already lose one month of learning each summer but with a pandemic sweeping the nation, how will the education sector respond and will it be fast enough? Read this blog en Español.

In Teaching And Leadership, It Is About More Than Vision. It’s About Philosophy
By: Daniel Lopez | February 7, 2020
After his first year teaching, Daniel realized he needed more than a vision for his students, he needed a philosophy to anchor his decision-making approach.

Latinx Leaders Change Their Communities Through Edupreneurship
By: Johana Muriel Grajales | November 7, 2019
More than $75,000 in cash and in-kind rewards were awarded to ten finalists at the Latinx Edupreneurs Pitch Competition, hosted by Latinos for Education.

The Untapped Potential of Latino Students in Texas
By: Andy Canales | November 1, 2019
Throughout the data, we see numerous shining examples of students and schools outperforming even in difficult circumstances. The data shows our kids can succeed – and they are succeeding.

How I Expanded My Role As An Educator To Become An Advocate For Latino Communities
By: Maritere Mix | October 17, 2019
While I am grateful the Latino Board Fellowship exposed me to opportunities to continue supporting students, it also taught me the proverbial table at which I must take a seat is much larger than the one in the boardroom.

Activating Rising Latinx Leaders Into The Changemakers We Need Right Now
By: Amanda Fernandez and Dr. Daniel Velasco | September 16, 2019
To be effective Latinx education leaders, we must confront our own stories. What we’ve found is Latinx leaders rarely get to invest time in unpacking the thread of our experiences and how it shaped who we are and who we want to become. 

From Undocumented to Community Advocate
By: Lorena Lopera | August 29, 2019
I am an immigrant and valuable contributor to our country and we, the Latinx community, are an important segment to ensuring this country stands tall for generations to come.

Language for Some: The Hypocrisy in Language Acquisition Policy
By: David Mendez | July 31, 2019
There is much hypocrisy around language acquisition in the U.S. Many agree learning multiple languages is an asset in the 21st century but who benefits?

The Unseen Faces and Unheard Voices in the Ed Reform Movement
By: Arlene Sanchez | July 18, 2019
The opportunity gap has manifested into the lack of representation of Latinx educators and the silencing of our voice in decision-making for our community. 

Measured by a Different Standard: A Latinx in the US
By: Paulette Piñero | May 17, 2019
As Latinx employees, we struggle to bring ourselves fully to the workplace, we lack champions, and executive leadership does not represent the reality of our community.

Learning the Language of Higher Education
By: Sebastian Gomez | April 18, 2019
As a first-generation immigrant, I grew up speaking multiple languages but the language of higher education was not one of them.

Our Students Deserve Ethnic Studies Now
By: Natalia Cuadra-Saez | April 9, 2019
Students who identify positively with their ethnic origin have a better chance of academic success.

Working Alongside Parents To Support A Child’s Education
By: Gabriela González del Real | March 20, 2019
In order for our students to be successful, they need to be supported by their community as a whole including teachers, school staff, and their families.

The Struggle of Representation: Reflecting on our Latinidad through the Walls of Acculturation and Self-Esteem
By: Antonelli Mejia | March 13, 2019
The lack of access to opportunities during high school and college and the low representation of leaders in our community are some of the disadvantages that make our education process more difficult.

Shifting Mindsets for our Latino ELs
By: Crystal Gonzales | October 30, 2018
By changing our mindset to focus on the assets of English language learners (ELs), we can better educate 4.8 million students.

Christina’s Story: Teacher Shares Power of Latino Leadership in Schools
By: R.D. Leyva | October 19, 2018
Christina Jusino shares her story as a Latina teacher who recognizes the impact of culture and shared understanding as a lever for students’ success.

Natalie’s Story: Projecting the Latino Voice from Classrooms to Boardrooms and Beyond
By: R.D. Leyva | October 15, 2018
Natalie Velasquez leads a successful career in finance, yet her experiences in public education motivated her to join the board of a school in Boston.

Naila’s Story: Partner Reflects on the Value of Collaboration and How Building Latino Leadership Helps Children Unleash Their Full Potential
By: R.D. Leyva | October 4, 2018
Naila Bolus, CEO of Jumpstart, shares about the value of Latino leaders at the board level and why we must bridge across cultures to remove barriers for Latino educational success.

Sabrina’s Story: Latina Student Reflects on the Value of Shared Cultural Identity
By: R.D. Leyva | September 20, 2018
Sabrina is a Latina student from Lawrence, MA and in this video blog she shares reflections about the first time she had a Latina teacher.

#FirstGenerationChat Shares Resources for One Third of College Students
By: R.D. Leyva | August 24, 2018
One third of college students are the first in their family to attend college, and these students face unique challenges in navigating their experience.

Diversity in Action: Program Increases Latino Representation on Boston Education Boards
By: Amanda Fernandez and Carrie Irvin | July 12, 2018
Latinos for Education and Charter Board Partners are partnering around our shared belief that education nonprofit organizations must have diverse and inclusive boards to achieve their missions and effectively serve students and families of color.

Latino Leaders Convene for Education Summit 
By: R.D. Leyva | May 31, 2018
For the past two years, we partnered with the NewSchools Venture Fund to ensure Latino leaders are gaining access to meaningful professional development and building a thriving community along the way.

Latino Leaders Share Reflections from ASU+GSV Summit
By: R.D. Leyva | April 26, 2018
Members of our Latinos for Education attended the ASU+GSV Summit last week and shared their reflections about the event.

Puerto Rico’s College Admissions System
By: Roberto Jiménez Rivera | March 20, 2018
Roberto Jiménez Rivera provides a historical perspective of the Puerto Rico college admissions process and explains why only 3% of Puerto Rican students attend universities on the mainland.

#LatinoTeachers Share Their Voice on Twitter
By: R.D. Leyva | February 20, 2018
The Education Trust released a new report highlighting perceptions of Latino teachers and held a twitter chat to share the report.

The Case for Latinx Entrepreneurship 
By: Kimberly Diaz | January 19, 2018
Kimberly Diaz describes why the hustle of being a Latina leader is the same “entrepreneurial spirit” that led her to co-found an education nonprofit.

Showing Latino Students That Educators Are Community Helpers
By: Velia Soto | November 17, 2017
Velia Soto shares her experience as an educator and principal in Chicago and discusses the value in exposing Latino students to careers in education.

Taking A Seat At The Table
By: Maritere Mix | October 23, 2017
Maritere Mix discusses her experience as an inaugural fellow of the Latino Board Fellows cohort and how the program prepared her to navigate the nonprofit board room.

The Street Is Not the Only Place for a Raised Fist: Part V of Being Latino in Education
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | October 13, 2017
Ricardo Jara is the Special Assistant to the Superintendent for Equity and Innovation at Madison Metropolitan School District. In our final installment for Hispanic Heritage Month, Ricardo discusses why we should make more room at the table for more Latinos and the value of advocating from the classroom to the boardroom.

A Dreamer Reminds Us Our Kids Will Write Our History: Part IV of Being Latino in Education
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | October 6, 2017
Marissa Molina is a DACAmented educator and serves as the Manager of Community Engagement at Rocky Mountain Prep in Denver. In the fourth installment of the 5-part series for Hispanic Heritage Month, she discuss her identities as a Latina and Dreamer and reminds us that our kids will write our future.

Connecting Social Justice to Our Economic Future: Part III of Being Latino in Education
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | September 29,2017
Hispanic Heritage Month continues with the third of five installments discussing what it means to be Latino in education today. Omar Yanar is the Founder and CEO of El Paso Leadership Academy and he shares why Latino educational success is an economic imperative.

Teaching About Our History Can Create a More Equitable Future: Part II of Being Latino in Education
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | September 22, 2017
The second interview in our 5-part Hispanic Heritage Month series is with Antonio Plascencia, Jr who serves as the Director of Civic Engagement for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He discusses the value in teaching our students about their histories as Latinos so we can create a new future.

What It Means to be Latino and Working in Education Today: Part I
Interview by: R.D. Leyva | September 15, 2017
We are beginning Hispanic Heritage Month with a 5-part series about being Latino and working in education in 2017. This interview was conducted with Dr. Nancy Gutierrez, Chief Strategy Officer at the New York City Leadership Academy.

Our Collective Responsibility to a Generation of Latinos
By: Amanda Fernandez   | July 25, 2017
Today, NewSchools Venture Fund released a report entitled “Unrealized Impact”, a groundbreaking study on diversity, equity and inclusion in the education sector.