In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15 in the United States, Education Northwest celebrates the careers and service of four leaders from our region who are making a difference in the lives of Latino students and families: Yvonne Curtis, Edie McClafferty, Carmen Rubio and Ricardo Sánchez.
Dr. Yvonne Curtis serves as the superintendent of the Forest Grove School District in Forest Grove, Oregon. Her leadership supports and empowers students and teachers to focus on learning through an equity lens. She’s deeply committed to transforming the public school system into a culturally responsive organization committed to equitable outcomes—a system that graduates every student with the knowledge and skills they need for a successful life. (Dr. Curtis also serves on the Education Northwest Board of Directors.)
An elementary school teacher in Butte, Montana, Edith (Edie) Zapata McClafferty served in the Montana House of Representatives from 2009-2015 and as the vice chair of the Education Commitee since 2011. She helped pass HB 374, a bill requiring the state education agency to develop suicide awareness and prevention training materials for school districts. She is dedicated to the children of Montana, fighting to protect their education and to protect them physically and emotionally.
Carmen Rubio serves as the executive director of Latino Network, a nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon that is dedicated to positively transforming the lives of Latino youth, families and communities. The granddaughter of migrant workers and the first in her family to graduate with a college degree, she is passionate about promoting educational achievement and leadership development of Latino youth in Oregon
Among his many life accomplishments, Ricardo Sánchez founded the Latino/a Education Achievement Project (LEAP) in Washington state in 1998. LEAP advocates to make a college education accessible and affordable to all, including undocumented students. In 2003, Sanchez and LEAP played a vital role to pass state legislation that granted undocumented students the ability to pay in-state tuition, and more recently, LEAP helped pass the Real Hope Act allowing undocumented students to receive state-funded financial aid.