Collective Wisdom and Experience of Women Leaders Will be Shared at LEAD Summit IX

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The collective wisdom of past and current LEAD events honorary chairpersons — all of whom are strong activists and advocates who have made significant contributions to the community — will be called upon for the final presentation at the LEAD IX Summit, ¡Viva la Mujer! on Thursday, March 29, at Cal State San Bernardino.

The 2018 Latino Education Advocacy Days Summit will take place at the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union beginning at 8 a.m. The free conference brings together teaching professionals and educators, researchers, academics, scholars, administrators, independent writers and artists, policy and program specialists, students, parents, civic leaders, activists and advocates.

To register, go to the LEAD Summit IX website at

VIVA LA MUJER: Nosotras Las Madrinas,” will be presented at about 2:15 p.m. as the capstone presentation of the summit.

Affectionately known as madrinas de honor, the distinguished panelists of mujeres will draw from decades of their personal and professional lives to discuss and shed light on their role, actions, and journey; working, empowering, and struggling toward social and economic justice, diversity/equity, educational/labor equality, civic/political/human rights and societal change.

The scheduled panelists for “VIVA LA MUJER: Nosotras Las Madrinas” are:

  • Sylvia Mendez, 2010 Inaugural LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor;
  • Judy Rodriguez Watson, 2011 LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor;
  • Trini Gomez, 2011 Inaugural Feria Educativa Madrina de Honor;
  • Josie Gonzales, 2013 LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor;
  • Ellen Riojas Clark, 2015 Inaugural Global LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor;
  • Lilian Esther Hernandez, 2015 Feria Educativa Madrina de Honor;
  • Eloise Gómez Reyes, 2017 LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor; and
  • Marta Macías Brown, 2018 LEAD Summit Madrina de Honor.

The panel will be moderated by Patricia Aguilera, Student Services Professional IV-Federal Work-Study, CA DREAM Grant and Loan Coordinator, CSUSB Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Also on the LEAD Summit program schedule are:

“Latina Pathways in P-20 Systems and Beyond: Answering the Call,” at 9:50 a.m.

P-20 systems are state-level educational databases in the United States designed “to capture, analyze, and use student data from preschool to high school, college, and the workforce,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. This panel will discuss the state of Latinas in education, including the challenges and opportunities for engaging and supporting Chicanas/Latinas across the P-20 education continuum and beyond.

Within the broader Chicano/Latinx student group, Latinas comprise a greater proportion pursuing undergraduate degrees in the United States. Yet, Latinas still face challenges throughout the public education continuum, particularly in postsecondary contexts.

This intergenerational panel will present a broad perspective of how the Latinx community may thrive across P-20 pathways by offering a more nuanced understanding of select elements that contribute to success, resilience, determination and an unwavering commitment to the Latinx comunidad.

Besides an overview of the state of Chicana/Latina progress in P-20 systems and beyond, panelists will cover the role of mentorship and programs in undergraduate success, the plight of first-generation Latinas in postsecondary contexts, and moving beyond full scholarship, mentorship and legacy building.

The panel will be chaired by Frances Contreras, associate vice chancellor and associate professor of education studies from UC San Diego. Panelists will be: Jeannett Castellanos, director, Social Sciences Academic Resource Center, UC Irvine; Nancy Acevedo-Gil, assistant professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Technology, CSUSB; and Julie López Figueroa, professor of ethnic studies and program director of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, Sacramento State.

“Latina College Administrators: Triumphs and Challenges … Leaving a Legacy,” at 1:15 p.m.

In the United States, not only the overall growth within the Latino population, but especially increased student attendance/presence on campuses of higher education, has led to an increased prevalence of social inequities. Latino representation overall within executive leadership positions in higher education is low, and even more so, the representation of Latina (women) executives at either community colleges or four-year universities is dismal. Of those Latina executives, most serve at community colleges instead of four-year universities.

Those Latinas who serve in executive positions have attained a wealth of knowledge through their experiences in leading complex institutions. It is extremely important to learn how Latinas describe their experiences and challenges while providing hope to the students they serve and within their communities.

Panelists in this session will highlight the challenges and opportunities with regional issues at their institutions, in addition to what role race, ethnicity and gender play in our ever-changing educational and political environment.

The panel will be chaired by Diana Z. Rodriguez, president, San Bernardino Valley College. Panelists are Nohemy Ornelas, associate superintendent/vice president, Allan Hancock College, and a doctoral candidate in the  educational leadership program at Fresno State; Cynthia Olivo, vice president for Student Services, Pasadena City College; Rita Cepeda, chancellor emeritus, San José/Evergreen Community College District; and Olivia Rosas, associate vice president of Student Success and Educational Equity, Student Affairs, and doctoral candidate in the educational leadership program at CSUSB.

In addition to the March 29 summit, there will be four related events that will make up LEAD Week:

  • March 26: Binational Parent Leadership Institute (BPLI) Colloquium, at the offices of the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools;
  • March 27: Catholic School Expo and Career Day III, at the CSUSB Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center;
  • March 28: Puente Student Leadership Forum III, at the Doubletree Hilton in San Bernardino; and
  • March 31: Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Breakfast VII, at the CSUSB Santos Manuel Student Union Events Center.

Now in its ninth year, LEAD serves as a primary site for a set of innovative and productive programs, publications and events for Latinos and education. These projects involve significant participation of faculty, students and administrators, as well as partnerships in the region and nationally.

The projects also create strong interactive connections with Latino networks in the U.S., as well as Latin Americans and Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas and the world, many whom are already in contact with LEAD personnel and the university.

For more information on the conference, visit the LEAD Summit website at, or call (909) 537-7632.

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