Rita Kohli is an Assistant Professor in the Education, Society and Culture Department at the University of California, Riverside. She has a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on Race and Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. A former Oakland Unified School District teacher and teacher educator, Kohli has spent over 15 years in urban public schools across the country. 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. She was the chair for the Critical Educators for Social Justice Special Interest Group for the American Educational Research Association and currently serves on the editorial board of the international journal Race, Ethnicity and Education. Kohli has published in journals such as Urban Education, Equity and Excellence in Education, the Urban Review, and Teacher Education Quarterly.
Marcos Pizarro is a 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 just 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 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 Latino students. Her research in schools and communities spans over 20 years and includes mixed-methods research on pathways from preschool to the professoriate, the experiences of students who leave high school before graduation, and the ways in which geographic regions structure inequalities. She specializes the study of qualitative research methodologies including testimonio and ethnography. Her current research and teaching is focused on cultivating asset-based mindsets in teachers and administrators that work with youth of color. 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. Her most recent scholarship can be found in Equity & Excellence in Education, the Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, and the Educational Administration Quarterly.
PROGRAM COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Nini Hayes is currently a postdoctoral fellow in Teacher Education at Marist College. She has an Ed.D. in Teacher Education and School Improvement and an Ed.S. in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A former elementary and middle school teacher and outdoor educator from Seattle, Washington, her research centers the work and experiences of teacher educators of Color. Nini first attended ITOC in its inaugural year, and recently joined the leadership team to coordinate the teacher educator of Color strand.
Josephine Pham is a Ph.D. student in the Urban Schooling program at the University of California, Los Angeles. A former middle and high school teacher in the Bay Area, California, Josephine joined ITOC in 2013 and supports the coordination of research and teacher actions. Her work with urban youth, professional experiences as a teacher of Color, and ITOC experiences shaped her interests in examining how teachers of Color use their political influence and skills to transform institutional spaces towards justice for their students and themselves.
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 for community building.
Arturo Nevárez is a third year Ph.D. student in the Education, Society, and Culture program at the University of California, Riverside. He is interested in examining the role of transformative pedagogies and critical literacies in shaping the schooling experiences of students of Color. Arturo’s 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.
Cecily Relucio Hensler is a teacher educator in the Urban Education Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), supporting the preparation of undergraduate elementary teacher candidates. She is pursuing a PhD in Curriculum Studies at UIC, committed to researching anti-colonial curricular and pedagogical interventions that center the needs of preservice teachers of Color and decenter Whiteness. Cecily was the Director of Elementary Teacher Preparation at the University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program, and has worked as an elementary classroom teacher, professional developer, and instructional coach in the Chicago Public Schools. She is excited to join ITOC as co-coordinator of the teacher educator of color strand.
Nallely Arteaga is a Ph.D student in the Education, Society, and Culture program at the University of California, Riverside. Ms. Arteaga is currently an Associate-In for 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 once 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 credentials from the University of Southern California.
UCR GRADUATE STUDENT COMMITTEE
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.