DIRECTORS AND FOUNDERS
Rita Kohli is a co-founder and co-director of ITOC, and serves as an Assistant Professor in the Education, Society and Culture Department at the University of California, Riverside. As a former Oakland Unified School District teacher, teacher educator and education researcher, Kohli has spent almost 20 years in urban public schools across the country. She currently serves on the editorial board of the international journal Race, Ethnicity and Education and is co-editor of the book, Confronting Racism in Teacher Education: Counternarratives of Critical Practice. Her research interests include critical race theory, racial climate and racial hierarchies in K-12 schools, and she has studied the strengths, barriers and resiliency of teachers of color across the pipeline. Kohli was the recipient of the University of California, Riverside's Innovator for Social Change Award (2016) and the Scholar Activist and Community Advocacy Award (2017) from the Critical Educators for Social Justice Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association.
Marcos Pizarro is a co-founder and co-director of ITOC. Professor in Mexican American Studies at San José State University, he has worked for over twenty years to develop innovative approaches to schooling with Chican@ youth. His book Chicanas and Chicanos in School: Racial Profiling, Identity Battles, and Empowerment, explores the relationship between the identities of Chican@ students and their academic performance. He coordinates MAESTR@S, an Institute for Raza Liberation through Educación, a teacher support group that has developed a model for transforming the school experiences of Raza youth in disenfranchised communities. He recently completed a yearlong project integrating this model in the development of a 11th grade Latina/o Literature class to replace the standard English course.
Rebeca Burciaga is a co-founder of ITOC. An Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and a Core Faculty Member for the Ed.D. Leadership Program in the Connie L. Lurie College of Education, Dr. Burciaga's research centers on understanding and challenging educational practices and structures that (re)produce social inequalities for historically marginalized communities, specifically Latinx students. Her research in schools and communities spans over 20 years and specializes on the study of qualitative research methodologies including testimonio and ethnography. Dr. Burciaga has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of California at Los Angeles. Her research has been supported and recognized by the Spencer Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Institute of Health, and the American Association of University Women. (Currently on sabbatical through Fall 2018).
Nallely Arteaga is a Ph.D student in the Education, Society, and Culture program at the University of California, Riverside and teaches within the teacher education program at UCR. Her research interests focus on race and ethnicity in education, teacher and students of color, alternative education, and educational inequality. Ms. Arteaga was a teacher at an alternative high school for 5 years in the Pasadena Unified School District. She taught English Language Arts at a Continuation High School for students labeled "at-risk" of not graduating. Ms. Arteaga earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She then received her Master’s degree in Education and teaching credential from the University of Southern California.
Joemy Ito-Gates has been an educator in the Berkeley Unified School District for the past fourteen years. She has taught second and third grades and most recently, shifted to a non-classroom teaching position as a Response to Intervention Coordinator. Additionally, she spent four years working as a Co-Facilitator for the Union's Teachers of Color Network. A highlight of her career was having the great privilege and joy of co-creating an after school club called, The MXD Roots Club, with her friend and colleague, Lisa Kelly. The club ran for four years and focused on the experiences of students of color who identify as mixed heritage, multiracial, biracial, transracially adopted, and youth who have been in foster care. As a transracial adoptee, Joemy has also been involved with PACT, An Adoption Alliance, leading workshops and sitting on panels as an adult adoptee representative. Her most important work, is being a mother and first teacher to her vivacious, brilliant, and fearless two year old.
Tanisha Johnson is a Ph.D student in the Education, Society, and Culture program at the University of California- Riverside. Her research interests focus on race and ethnicity in education. Tanisha has been in elementary education for the past 10 years in charter and public schools on both the east and west coasts. She is currently an Elementary Math Curriculum Specialist for the Alvord Unified School District in Riverside, CA. Tanisha earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Master's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Rochester.
Lisa Kelly just finished her 7th year of teaching in Bay Area public schools. She is currently teaching 6th grade English and English Language Development in the Fruitvale of Oakland, CA. She is mixed Black, Colombian and French, kinship adopted, and is in education to help contribute to a more equitable future by teaching from an Ethnic Studies and Social Justice framework. She is also an amateur rugby player, runner, weight lifter, video gamer and adores elephants. She is so thrilled to be a part of ITOC for a third year!
Tanya Maloney is an assistant professor in the Department of Secondary and Special Education at Montclair State University’s (MSU) College of Education and Human Services in Montclair, New Jersey. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the college’s urban teacher preparation programs. She also co-created MSU’s Critical Urban Speaker Series, a biannual event that brings leading national scholars to the university to engage attendees in performances, lectures, and workshops focused on social and cultural issues influencing urban schools and communities. Her experience as a high school mathematics teacher in Chicago and New Jersey informs her research on the preparation and development of anti-racist and culturally relevant mathematics and science teachers for Black and Latinx students. Tanya joined ITOC leadership in 2018, and is a facilitator of the teacher educator strand.
Nicole “Novela” Martinez is a Chicana Indigena community artist, educator and activist representing her homeland of Abiqui Pueblo, Nuevo Mexico to her hometown of Sacramento, California. Growing up hip-hop and ranch, she strives to acknowledge our rich ethnic identities and cultures and works to build partnerships and encourage solidarity with diverse communities through music, poetry, photography and the sharing of our unique stories, traditions and spiritual beliefs. Currently Nicole is a fourth grade bilingual teacher at Cesar Chavez Intermediate School in South Sacramento, Meadowview. She also works with community arts organizations Sol Collective, Sacramento Area Youth Speaks, Mahogany Urban Poetry, and other activist organizations. She provides beats, rhythms and soul to ITOC both on the turntables and off.
Oscar Navarro is an Assistant Professor of Secondary Education at California Polytechnic State University’s School of Education in San Luis Obispo. His experience as a high school teacher and membership with the People’s Education Movement in Los Angeles inform his research and teaching on social justice education, critical professional development, and the schooling experiences of students of color. Oscar joined ITO leadership in 2016, and is a facilitator of the teacher educator strand.
Arturo Nevárez is a fourth year Ph.D. student in the Education, Society, and Culture program at the University of California, Riverside. He is currently studying Latinx racial literacy development in K-12 Ethnic Studies, particularly understanding their means to navigate the current political climate. His commitment to educational equity is influenced by his experience as a first generation college graduate from a working class community with deep roots in Mexico. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Arturo was a middle school and high school English teacher in South Central Los Angeles, CA and Hawthorne, CA. As part of the ITOC program committee, Arturo is excited to help organize the space where transformational educators/racial justice leaders can create community and continue to build their critical praxis.
Farima Pour-Khorshid is a proud Bay Area native, bilingual kindergarten teacher and also leads high school students abroad to Nicaragua for service learning and leadership development. She is a teacher organizer with the Teachers 4 Social Justice grassroots organization, a board member for the Education for Liberation Network. Currently, she is pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Cruz where her research focuses on grassroots alternative critical professional development approaches for teachers of Color who are committed to social justice education. Farima joined ITOC in 2015 and serves as a facilitator of community building.
Past and Present ITOC Collaborators and Leadership
Luis Genero Garcia
Cecily Relucio Hensler
Luis Genero Garcia
Cecily Relucio Hensler