Nonprofit draws Latinos into education leadership

BOSTON – Many of the boards that lead school systems and universities could benefit from more diversity, and one organization is working toward that goal.

Thirty-year-old Carlos Quintanilla dream is to inspire others to fulfill their potential, and he learned this from a program he was introduced to four years ago called Latinos For Education.

“Latinos for Education helped me learn who I truly am as a person to give back to my community,” 30-year-old Carlos Quintanilla said.

Carlos Quintanilla has completed two fellowships with Latinos for Education.

Latinos for Education

“They do a lot of work from within you, understanding who you really are as a person,” Quintanilla said. He has just finished his second fellowship through the group and hopes to open his own business.

Latinos For Education is a national nonprofit that started five years ago. Its mission is to place, develop and connect essential Latino Leadership in the education sector.

“Latino educators and, really, all students of color benefit from having a same-race educator both academically but also from a social-emotional perspective in really creating that culture of belonging,” said Latinos For Education Advocacy Director Manny Cruz.

They achieve this by offering fellowships to help accelerate different leadership pipelines, including teaching and board-level positions.

“This is addressing those representation gaps that exist in boards of governance in education non-profits, boards of higher Ed and school committees,” Cruz said. In fact, he is the vice chairman of the Salem School Committee.

“We push for equity every single time we have a seat at the table, so it’s critically important for Latinos to be represented on boards and nonprofit levels but also upon things like school committees,” he said.

Over the past five years, Latinos for Education has impacted more than 450 participants, not only putting them in positions of leadership but also providing the steps and tools they need to succeed.