The El Colegio Board of Directors are responsible for the well-being of the school, ensuring that the mission and vision is reflected in every facet of the organization.
The schedule of board meetings for the 2020-2021 school year can be viewed here, as well as the school’s Google Calendar (viewable on the right-hand sidebar). Other important documents such as meeting minutes and annual reports can be viewed on the Board Documents & Accountability page.
Are you an El Colegio parent, friend, or just passionate about education? Consider joining the Board of Directors! Check out our board member application, or reach out to any of our current board members!
Tony Aarts (Chair)
Tony Aarts is an Education Specialist at the MN Department of Education. Tony has worked in public education for 12 years. He holds a BA in English from UW-River Falls, as well as an MFA in Creative Writing from University of Greensboro-North Carolina. His experience in education centers on creative writing, literature studies, assessment design, and composition. Outside of education, Tony focuses on community organizing for racial justice and immigrant and refugee rights. He has been a board member since December 2019.
Jennifer Godinez (Vice Chair)
Jennifer Godinez is Associate Director at Minnesota Education Equity Partnership (MnEEP) and Project Director of the Race Equity and Excellence in Education Network (REEEN). Jennifer holds a B.A. in Sociology from Drake University and a Masters degree in Public Policy from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Jennifer has led key initiatives in the intersection of equity-centered collective action, research, public policy and the nonprofit sector for over 17 years. Her focus is race equity in education action planning and school-community leadership development. She writes and has spoken to local and national groups around school leadership, immigrant communities, and race equity. She has published writings on education equity and has been featured on MPR, Star Tribune and other media outlets discussing the importance of education equity and regional prosperity.
Kent Fordyce (Treasurer)
Kent Fordyce is a degreed accountant with over 35 years experience providing accounting services for small businesses and the non-profit community. He began his career climbing the corporate ladder in the 70’s and early 80’s and found this direction was not personally rewarding. This lead him to establish an accounting service focusing initially in the social justice community. This has since expanded to include for profit small businesses as well. He takes a pro-active approach attempting to anticipate issues rather than being in the react mode. Kent has been a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor since 2005.
Bianet Castellanos (Secretary)
Bianet Castellanos is an associate professor of American Studies at the University of Minnesota and is affiliated with the departments of American Indian Studies and Chicano & Latino Studies, teaching courses on indigenous studies, politics and popular culture, immigration, tourism, urbanism, and the US-Mexico border. She is a member of Mexico’s Sistema Nacional de Investigadores. She has served on the board of El Colegio since December 2016.
Ann Zukoski leads the Evaluation and Surveillance Unit for the Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives at the Minnesota Department of Health. Ann has over 20 years of experience evaluating community based public health initiatives and grounds her work in participatory approaches. She has her doctorate in public health from U.C. Berkeley School of Public Health and her master’s in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In her spare time, Ann loves walking her dogs and travelling with her family.
“My name is Tamara Ramirez-Torres. I teach Spanish and Reading here at El Colegio. I have been teaching for 39 years. I started my teaching career in Puerto Rico where I taught for 24 years. When I moved to Minnesota I taught for 3 years in St. Paul, 10 years in Minneapolis, and this is my 4th year here at El Colegio. Throughout my teaching career I have taught from preschool through high school. Here at El Colegio I get very excited when my students excel in their reading.”
Ms Tamara has been a board member since September 2016.
Dr Elizabeth Sumida Huaman
Elizabeth Sumida Huaman is Wanka and Quechua from the Mantaro Valley, Peru, and Associate Professor of Comparative and International Development Education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Her work focuses on the relationship between Indigenous lands and natural resources, cultural practices, and in and out-of-school educational development in the Americas. Her collaborative research includes participatory work with Indigenous communities and institutions that are rooted in Indigenous knowledge systems and that prioritize impacts of development and modernization, Indigenous community-based education and environmental sustainability, and Indigenous rights education. She utilizes Indigenous research methods that highlight Indigenous self-determination goals, and her aim is to contribute to Quechua educational research methodologies.
Brenda Sanchez is the Coordinator at the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet. She holds a B.A in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Her experience centers around youth and public engagement in areas that impact children and BIPOC families the most. Outside of education and public service, Brenda focuses on the performing arts, as a way to communicate stories to create better understanding of people, especially underrepresented communities.