Advisors


Juan F. Carillo

Arizona State University

Dr. Juan Carillo is an Associate Professor at Arizona State University and a recipient of the 2020 American Educational Research Association's Early Career Award. He is a native of working-class communities in south Los Angeles, California and the son of Mexican immigrants from the state of Sinaloa. Carillo was a high school social studies teacher in Phoenix, Arizona and Austin, Texas. His work in K-12 schools also extends into the realms of mentoring, chairing departments, and curriculum design, always with the aim of reaching students in-context. 

Carillo's interdisciplinary research draws from critical frameworks and qualitative methodologies such as narrative inquiry, autoethnography and testimonials. His work looks at the role of agency in historically marginalized communities, with a particular focus on Latinx students. One of his focus areas is on the schooling trajectories of academically successful Latino males that come from working-class origins. Within this research strand, he covers issues of language, identity, intelligences, and agency in traditional gateway regions and cities and in rural and semi-rural spaces in the "New" Latinx south.

Carillo received his bachelor’s from Arizona State University, his Masters of Education from Grand Canyon University, and his doctorate from the University of Texas in Cultural Studies in Education.

Cecilia Rios-Aguilar

UCLA

Dr. Cecilia Rios-Aguilar is Professor of Education and Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at UCLA’s School of Education and Information Studies (Ed&IS). Currently, she also serves as a faculty Co-Director of Policy Analysis of California Education (PACE), as a Board Member of the Spencer Foundation, and as a research affiliate of Wheelhouse: The Center for the Community College Leadership and Research at UC Davis.

Her research is multidisciplinary and uses a variety of asset-based conceptual frameworks—funds of knowledge, community cultural wealth and the forms of capital—to study the educational and occupational trajectories of marginalized students.

Dr. Rios-Aguilar’s 2011-2014 research project, “Getting Connected: Harnessing the Power of Social Media to Enhance Community College Student Success,” was funded by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project explored the use of social media to engage community college students in ways that improve success outcomes. Currently, Dr. Rios-Aguilar is examining how community college students make decisions about majors, jobs, and careers and the impact of strategic nudges to help community college students navigate the financial aid process.

Dr. Rios-Aguilar obtained her Ph.D. in Education Theory and Policy from the University of Rochester, her M.S. in Educational Administration from the University of Rochester, and her B.A. in Economics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México [ITAM].

Adai Tefera

The University of Arizona

Dr. Adai Tefera is an assistant professor in the Disability and Psychoeducational Studies Department at the University of Arizona College of Education. Her work has been included in journals such as Teachers College Record, Urban Education, and Theory into Practice. She has worked in schools, both in after-school and summer programs, and served as a fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Her commitment to educational equity and justice is rooted in her experiences as the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, her upbringing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and her experiences learning from and with students with disabilities, especially her sister, who remains one of her most important teachers.

She received her doctorate in education with an emphasis in urban schooling and public policy from UCLA, and was a postdoctoral scholar at Arizona State University. Her scholarship focuses on how educational policies aimed at improving equity among students at the intersections of race, disability, language, and other socio-cultural differences are enacted and experienced by educators, leaders, and students. She is particularly interested in strengthening research-policy-practice partnerships through knowledge mobilization to improve opportunities of historically marginalized learners.

Ivory Toldson

NAACP, Howard University

Dr. Ivory Toldson is currently the Director of Education Innovation and Research at the NAACP, professor of counseling psychology at Howard University and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Negro Education. Previously, Dr. Toldson served as the president and CEO of the QEM Network. He was also appointed by President Barack Obama to devise national strategies to sustain and expand federal support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), where he conceptualized the White House Initiative on HBCUs All-Stars program, which identified and engaged the top HBCU scholars.

As a senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Dr. Toldson conceptualized, developed and authored the Breaking Barriers series, which analyzed success indicators for school-aged Black males. He has worked with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and their staff to organize national and district-level forums on educational equity and access.

After completing coursework for a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at Temple University, Dr. Toldson became a correctional and forensic psychology resident at the United States Penitentiary. He has received formal training in applied statistics from the University of Michigan, and held visiting research and teacher appointments at Emory, Drexel and Morehouse School of Medicine. He holds an honorary doctorate from Florida Memorial University. He is married to Marshella Toldson, and together, they are raising their daughter, Makena and their son, Ivory Kaleb.

Angela Valenzuela

The University of Texas at Austin

Dr. Angela Valenzuela is a professor in both the Educational Policy and Planning Program within the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin. She also serves as the director of the University of Texas Center for Education Policy.

A Stanford University graduate, her previous teaching positions were in Sociology at Rice University in Houston, Texas (1990-98), as well as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston (1998-99). She is also the author of award-winning Subtractive Schooling: U.S. Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring (1999), Leaving Children Behind: How "Texas-style" Accountability Fails Latino Youth (2005), and Growing Critically Conscious Teachers: A Social Justice Curriculum for Educators of Latino/a Youth (Teachers College Press, 2016). She also founded and operates a blog titled, Educational Equity, Politics, and Policy in Texas.

Valenzuela also directs the National Latino Education Research and Policy Project (NLERAP) that aims to create teacher education pathways for Latino/a youth, nationally. With prior funding support from both the Ford and Kellogg Foundations, this work builds on the efforts and advocacy of Latino/a education and business leaders nationwide. Locally, she directs Academia Cuauhtli, a partnership-based, community-anchored Saturday school with district-wide Impacts in Austin, Texas.

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