WESTERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR
Nebraska State Education Association
Personal & Professional Highlights
Sasha Cervantes is a 6th Grade Dual Language, Language arts teacher at R.M. Marrs Magnet Center, in the Omaha (Nebraska) Public Schools. Marrs is a Mathematics, Technology, and Economics Title 1 Grade 5-8 magnet school in South Omaha with the largest ESL and Latino student population in the state.
Cervantes began her career in education as a classroom ESL paraprofessional in 1999 with OPS where she herself had been a student K-12. Fortunately, it was her supportive cooperating teachers who encouraged her to complete her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from Peru State College through the district’s Career Ladder Program for non-certified staff. Her career has led her to earning a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a graduate certificate in Urban Education, a K-12 ESL endorsement, and also was one of the first Nebraskans to earn a Bilingual Endorsement in 2009. Most recently, she began her endorsement in Educational Leadership from Western Governors University where she was also a recipient of the NEA Academy Partner Scholarship.
Sasha’s professional development through the NEA’s Minority Leadership Training, has led her to serving the Omaha Education Association as an AR, Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Chair and the Board of Directors of the 2000 member local. Her local work has also led to a number of opportunities for nominations to a number of district committees. Leadership training, also led Sasha to opportunities to represent Omaha on the NSEA Metro Board, as a Delegate to the Nebraska State Education Association Delegate Assembly as well as on the state’s Elections Committee. At the 2010 Representative Assembly held in New Orleans, Sasha had the distinct honor of representing the NSEA in the NEA Choir. Sasha currently represents Nebraska on the NEA Resolutions Committee.
Sasha is proud of her family’s complicated immigration history that goes back to the Mexican Revolution of 1910 of her maternal great-grandparents through her father’s migration during the economic downturn of the presidency of Luis Echeverria in the 1970s. She and her husband, Alejandro (a natural gas utility worker and member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers), reside in South Omaha with their three-year-old daughter.
PACIFIC REGIONAL DIRECTOR
Roberto V. Rodriguez
California Teachers Association
CTA-NEA Coordinating Director
Personal & Professional Highlights
Robert Varela Rodriguez, an experienced special education teacher in San Bernardino City Unified School District, is serving his first year of a two-year term on the Board as the CTA-NEA Coordinating Director, a term that expires on June 25, 2018.
As the CTA-NEA Coordinating Director, he has statewide responsibilities on the Board, representing the numerous California educators serving on the NEA Board. A passionate educator and longtime union activist, his 11 years of teaching have included working at the elementary, middle school, special day class and resource specialist levels.
Rodriguez has represented California on the National Education Association Board of Directors for four years, and was the NEA Hispanic Caucus Pacific Region Director, as well as serving on the NEA Budget Committee.
MIDWEST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
Michigan Education Association
- NEA Racial Justice in Education Policy Task Force Member
- NEA National Council of Urban Education Association (NCUEA) Ethnic Minority Director
- NEA Board of Director for Michigan
- NEA Resolutions Committee Member
- NEA National Leadership Summit Delegate
- NEA Midwest Minority Leadership Training Graduate
- NEA Midwest Leadership Delegate
- NEA English Language Learner Caucus Member
- NEA American Indian/ Alaska Native Caucus Member
- NEA Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee Member
- MEA NEA RA Strategy Committee Member
- MEA Board Member Region 8
- MEA 3-1-G Minority Affairs Committee Member
- MEA E.L.L. & Migrant Ed Committee Chair
- MEA Distinguished Service Award Committee
- MEA Human Rights and Excellence Awards Committee
- MEA Minority & Women Leadership Conference and Social Justice Institute Participant
- MEA Local Affiliates Voting Member
- Lansing Schools Education Association (LSEA) Vice-President
- LSEA Public Relations Chairperson
- LSEA Professional Council Member
- LSEA Instructional Council Member
- LSEA Negotiations Committee Member
- LSEA Grievance Committee Member
- LSEA NCLB Committee Member
- LSEA PAC Co-Chair
- LSEA Building Representative
- Screening and Recommendation Committee Member
Alfonso is a product of the Lansing School District in Michigan where he currently teaches Spanish in the International Baccalaureate Programme of his Alma Mater Lansing Eastern High School. He attended Central Michigan University (CMU) as a recipient of CMU’s full academic scholarship, the Centralis Scholar Award. He also earned his Master of Arts degree in Spanish from CMU. In 2003, Alfonso helped organize Michigan’s First and Only High School Mariachi, Mariachi Everett de Lansing. In 2005, Alfonso was awarded with a prestigious teaching award known as the “Oscars of Teaching”, the National Milken Award.
During his 22 years as an educator, he has made it a goal to advocate and to teach for public education. He has been lucky to have the opportunity to contribute to the community in which he grew up in, and to be apart of an urban setting where he is desperately needed.
Organizations have a mission statement, yet people should have a cause statement. His cause statement is to help, to serve, and to improve unconditionally and positively without regard. Throughout the years he has received many accolades for his participation in affecting the lives of many former students who have now become professionals around the world. His contributions have not only been for his students, but also for the professional education associations in which he is apart of. His work at the national level has included advocacy for public education, and many social justice issues for women, and people of color.
We are extremely happy to have Alfonso as a member of our team and we look forward to growing together with all of our unique talents.
NORTHEAST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
Massachusetts Education Association
- 1st Vice-President
- Building Delegate
- ESP Negotiations Committee
- ESP Sick Bank Committee (Chair)
- Rules & Bylaws Committee (Vice-Chair)
- 2016 MTA ESP of the Year
- 2016 Red Sox Most Valuable Educator
- ESP Committee (2013-Present)
- EMAC (2014-Present) (Vice-Chair)
- Rules and Bylaws Committee (2015-Present)
- Equal Opportunity Council (2013-Present)
- Environmental Health and Safety Committee (2013)
- Delegate to the MTA Annual Meeting (6 years)
- Emerging Leaders Program graduate – Williamstown 2012
- Grievance I and I Training (2012-2013)
- Hispanic Caucus
- ESP Director (2012-2014)
- Northeast Regional Director (2014-Present)
- Elections Committee Chair (2013)
- Elections Committee Member (2015)
- Representative Assembly Delegate (7 years)
- NEA Resolutions Committee (2015)
- MTA NBI Committee (2015)
- Minority Leadership Training graduate 2011
- English Language Learner Program: A State and Local Summit (April 2013)
- ELL Pilot Program participant (2015 & 2016)
- NEA ESP Leaders for Tomorrow graduate (2015)
- NEA Para-Educator Institute Workgroup (2015-Present)
- NEA SOGI Committee (2015-present)
- NEA ESP Digi-Book profile (2015)
I have been a Braillist for the Worcester Public Schools in Worcester, Massachusetts for the past 18 years. I work with visually impaired students, adapting their class work into large print or Braille. My main goal is to make sure our students are integrated into their neighborhood public schools, become familiar with their surroundings, and make them as independent as possible. I have had strong ties with my students, having worked with one student from Kindergarten until he graduated from high School. I am an advocate for English Language Learners and Special Education students. With a lot of patience, understanding, and guidance, our students are capable of accomplishing anything any other student can. I believe in the public school system, as I am a product of it, and also in all the wonderful Educators who work within its walls, who day to day struggle to make this a better world for our students. I am a proud Latino born in San German, Puerto Rico and raised between Worcester, MA and San German. I attended Elementary School in Massachusetts, and Middle/High School in San German. It was a great experience to receive my education and fully develop and understand both languages. As a Latino, I am proud of my roots and the beautiful mix of cultures we all come from. I am a mixture of my mother’s Spaniard heritage and my father’s African and Taino heritage. I am an avid advocate for maintaining our culture alive and making sure our community, especially our youth, are in touch with their roots and embrace the beauty of it. Through Education and Art it is possible. I consider myself an Artist as much as an Educator. One way I do this is through my involvement with several leading nonprofit Arts Organizations in New England, including AS220, Trinity Rep, The Providence Latin American Film Festival, Grupo Arcoiris of Rhode Island, and most recently as founder of “Arte Latino of New England (ALNE)” as it’s Artistic Director. Through these I have helped in providing access to Spanish language and bilingual events through live performances, film, workshops, and cultural education, while helping adults and young Latinos discover hidden talents, build self-confidence, and solidify their cultural and individual identity.
MID-ATLANTIC REGIONAL DIRECTOR
Maryland Education Association
- Local building representative for the HCEA
- Head of the local Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee for HCEA
- Former Co-Chair of the State Minority Affairs Committee (MSEA) and current member
- MID-ATLANTIC REGIONAL DIRECTOR (APPOINTED SUMMER 2014)
- HCEA Membership Committee
- Former NEA Diversity Trainer (20115-2013)
- TEAACH participant at Northrup Gruman
- Honeywell Space Educator Participant
- NASA Star Partner in conjunction with Puerto Rican teachers
- Chaperoned student to Guanica, Puerto Rico for Science and Cultural Exchanges NEA Diversity trainer
I was born in Richmond, Virginia, and eventually moved to the Baltimore, Maryland, area where I graduated high school from Milford Mill High School. I graduated from Towson University. While at Towson University I participated in the National Student Exchange program and spent a semester at North Carolina State University. I worked in Higher Education for a few years before my love for teaching sent me to the K-12 area. I earned my Master’s Degree from Coppin University in Adult & Continuing Education and a Masters Equivalency from The John Hopkins University in Special Education. Currently I am teaching 8th grade Special Education at Lime Kiln Middle School in Howard County, Maryland, and previously taught Reading Modules. Additionally, I am an adjunct college professor and assistant softball coach at Howard University.
My passion is to make sure that to make all minorities are represented in leadership positions and treated fairly and equally!
SOUTHEAST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
FEA- Florida Education Association
- Association Representative
- Multi Level/ High School Executive Board
- MAC Committee
- ESPs Organizing Committee
- Membership Committee
- FEA Governance Board
- FEA MAC Committee
- FEA Delegate
- NEA Diversity Cadre Trainer
- NEA Cultural Competence Cadre Trainer
- NEA Hispanic Caucus Southeast Director
- NEA Resolution Committee
Colorado Education Association
Personal and Professional Highlights
Louis Sisneros recently retired after teaching high school English in Jefferson County Public Schools (in the Denver area) for 33 years. Louis now works part time with The Matthew Shepard Foundation. To honor the memory of the young gay man who was beaten and left to die outside of Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998, the Foundation’s mission is to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance. Drawing on his teaching experience, Louis provides production resources to schools and community theaters performing the Laramie Project plays. Also, he has begun to develop and expand instructional materials related to the plays, along with Conspirare’s oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard, Judy Shepard’s memoir The Meaning of Matthew, and Michele Josue’s documentary Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine.
Illinois Education Association
Personal & Professional Highlights
Kay Boswell is a first generation Puerto Rican living in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She is the youngest of four siblings, one of which is also a bilingual educator and administrator. She has been teaching since 2009 and currently works in Des Plaines, Illinois. She previously taught bilingual and second language learners in Glendale Heights, Westmont, and Chicago, Illinois. Kay previously belonged to the Queen Bee Education Foundation where she served as a board director. The foundation raised money for literacy in Queen Bee School District 16. Kay is also a member of the International reading Association. Kay was an assistant coach for the Girls on the Run program, which teaches young girls how to live physically and emotionally healthy lives. Kay has volunteered to aid and teach adult ESL in the community. Kay was a recipient of the CHAPTER scholarship for education in 2007 and 2008. Kay started her educational career at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois in 2004. After spending two years at NIU she transferred to Loyola University Chicago. She attended Loyola University Chicago and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Bilingual Bicultural Elementary Education with endorsements in middle school social science and English as a second language. Kay went on to the University Of Phoenix, where in 2011 she graduated with a Master’s Degree in education in curriculum and instruction. Kay’s mission is to aid her students, parents, and community in becoming strong and productive members of society. The Puerto Rican culture and values her family instilled in her has led her to be a passionate advocate for all Latino community members. As a member and Information & Technology (IT) Director for the National Education Association Hispanic Caucus, Kay is eager to help the Latino community. She is eager to be a voice and advocate for the needs and wants of the Latino population not just in the Midwest but also throughout the Country.
Minnesota Education Association – Student Member
- Voces Unidas – Latino Community Advocacy Group
- Secretary 2014-2015
- President 2015- Present
- Black Student Union
- Member 2015-2015
- President 2015-2016
- Secretary 2016- Present
- Education Minnesota Student Program State Council
- Vice-President 2016-2017
- Education Minnesota Student Program – Morris Chapter
- Member 2014-2016
- Junior Representative 2016-Present
- Volunteer Interpreter – Morris Area School Districts 2016-2017
- National Education Hispanic Caucus Student Director 2016- Present
TONI V. MEJIAS
Maryland State Education Association
ACE-AFSCME Local 2250
- ACE-AFSCME Local 2250 Executive Board Member and Negotiations Team (2014-2016)
- ACE-AFSCME Local 2250 Building Representative/Steward (2013 –Present)
- Multi-Union Labor Coalition Team (August 2016-Present)
- MSEA—Minority Affairs Committee (2014-Present)
- MSEA Emerging Leaders Gen XI Graduate (Oct. 2015)
- MSEA Strategic Planning Workgroup-Leading the Profession (2014-2015)
- NEA—Hispanic Caucus ESP Director (July 2016-Present)
- NEA ESP Leaders for Tomorrow (2017 Graduate)
- Long Island University-C.W. Post Campus (Broadcasting & Communications)
- New York Institute of Technology (Broadcasting & Communications)
- Katherine Gibb School (Secretarial Certificate)
- Prince George’s Community College (Paralegal)
I am a Hispanic Nuyorican (Puerto Rican born and raised in New York City) who grew up as a latch key kid, in the Bronx, raised by a single mom. I forced my mom to teach me to read and write in Spanish before entering Kindergarten (my belief was that I would learn English when entering school). I mastered speaking Spanish and not Spanglish by watching Spanish telenovelas and taking every opportunity to have conversations with my elders.
I am a wife and proud mother of four (Ivana-29, Kaine-23, Matthew-19 and Lauren-18). I wake up every day knowing I am blessed!
In my previous life working in the corporate world, I was an Assistant Comptroller for Televisa, a subsidiary of Univision, and worked on public relations projects for the Governor of Puerto Rico while living on the island. My administrative experience encompasses areas in contract management, startup ventures and broadcasting.
I have worked for Prince George’s County Public Schools since 2002. I spent nine (9) years as a Principals secretary in the schoolhouses, two years with Title I and the last three years in the Office of Diversity.
My passion for cultural awareness and equity began at my very first school in 2002 with a population of 95% Hispanic and Latino families from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. I have dedicated my time to making sure that every student or family that came through me were provided excellent customer service, shown an understanding and respect for their culture, supported their needs and treated them with the same care all student and families deserve.