Running forWard 5 School Board
Running as Non-Partisan Election
I was born and raised in Massachusetts by a family of immigrants. My parents came to the United States by foot from El Salvador in the 80s. Growing up, I witnessed the challenges that came from belonging to multiple identities that are marginalized, and grew passionate about the work I wanted to do in my future. I am the oldest of three boys, and hold strong values in the importance of family, and I am thankful to have my family close to me. I came to Manchester in 2017 and am now 32. I am recently married to a Latina woman, and am thankful for our shared culture and experiences. Together we have a dog and a home and are thankful to have our family in Manchester. We both work in this community and love our neighbors and friends here. Our work with community members pushes us to continue advocating for change when we see unjust circumstances in our city.
My own identity is political, so I have been advocating for myself and my community the minute I picked up the English language - various students in our district share the same story, the minute we learn English we are instantly interpreters, ensuring that members from our communities are heard and included in decision making. On top of that, I have been currently serving on the Board of School Committee. I was appointed nearly at the start of the term, and have served alongside the other members to ensure that all decisions continue to promote equity in our schools.
Current jobI am currently the Program Director for the Equity Leaders Fellowship. This program was developed by leaders of color, for leaders of color in the state of New Hampshire. We grow the pipeline of leaders from communities of color to take leadership positions on community committees, boards of directors, and other state and local civic engagement opportunities.
Time lived in NHI came to the city of Manchester in 2017 with a task to bring young and diverse talent into our school districts, by serving as a City Year AmeriCorps member. I recruited all across New England, from high schools, to community organizations, colleges, vocational schools, and community colleges. I hoped they would see the magic of our city, and see how impactful their service would be in the City of Manchester.
I began at Revere High School, and then completed two years of service with AmeriCorps/City Year. My years in service is what gave me the tools and mentorship I needed to see that my Zip Code did not dictate my future. My lived experiences as an English Language Learner in public schools combined with the training I received, and my dedication, is what provided me with the opportunity to instantly connect with my students in the classroom - I embrace my own and others' differences. I want our kids to see that there are individuals that have had similar paths to them in positions of leadership, and know that they have the skills and tools to be who they want in the world. Representation is critical.
Why are you running for this office?
It’s time that our city government reflects what our city looks like, we often hear people mention how beautiful our racial diversity is, but words are words, and I believe in action. We need to ensure that we show our children and families, as well as the next generation of Manchester, that they are reflected within the leaders of our city. Not only is there space for us at the table, but we are pulling up a chair and taking it.
What qualifies you as the best candidate for this office?
How many candidates have a background like me?
-English Language Learner
-Family came from El Salvador
-Grew up similar to the students in our district
-Was a City Year AmeriCorps member for two years
-Recruited for City Year New Hampshire for about three years
-Equity Leaders Fellowship Alumni – (Cohort 5)
-Recently joined NH Center for Justice & Equity Board
-Was recently admitted into the Leadership NH Class of 2024
-Volunteer with Central Little League
In the end combine my lived experiences, my professional background – aqui estamos!
How would you address student equity?
We need to start ensuring that student equity is incorporated into every decision and initiative we implement, regardless of its magnitude. We bring and embrace equity like it’s some hot new thing, yet in the end it is not – we are by far one of the most diverse school districts in the state, and we have no choice but to prioritize equity in each and every decision we make – while leaning on our community leaders and supporting the efforts and work of the Chief Equity Officer.
What are your thoughts on extra-curricular offerings in Manchester public schools?
Connecting students to existing/new extracurriculars encourages our future leaders to get involved and engaged in something they are passionate about, allows them access to new resources, mentors, positive action, and long term learning. These also provide positive learning environments where students are able to thrive in a non-traditional learning setting, while still learning and gaining skills that will be transferable to inside the classroom and academics. These include teamwork, critical thinking, maintaining a growth mindset, and an increase in self esteem and confidence.
What are your thoughts on attracting and retaining high quality Manchester School District staff?
I would also include every single individual that works for the School District – no matter their roles, they are a priority (titles to me do not dictate who is more important). Staying competitive is critical, while being realistic with what we have as a city, PD that supports all staff in their journey to moving up the ladder, and pushes them to be better in their roles.
What are your thoughts on and/or plans for addressing remote learning/other uses of technology in local education?
We should use technology to support in staying connected while at the same time ensuring all of our families have the access to Wifi and Laptops – my big question I will always ask is how are we promoting this … is it just through an email, or a flier sent with our children to give their parents/guardians? I am big believer on ensuring we are also proximate and meet our communities where they are at, and help them see the resources that are available to them and how to use the resources at the same time.
What are your thoughts on or plans for addressing vocational and career-focused educational initiative?
College is not for everyone and it is not the only path – I would know, and it is important that we encourage our children to follow their areas of interest, have them see the importance of trades and how well they pay – as well as the need. Our children are our future here and want them to join the workforce prepared with experiences, so that when they enter the field they can move up at a faster pace. This to me would encourage more employers to invest in our districts and programming, it saves them money knowing that our children are graduating with X skills and experience.