Championing Latino Student Success

Sarita Brown, co-founder and president of Excelencia in Education, will share the importance of championing Latino student success in higher education. Two successful student programs, Cardinal First at North Central College in Illinois and Ambiciones at Howard Community College in the Washington, D.C. area, will be highlighted through the voices of students Daniel Alcaraz and Cecilia Reyes. You will hear their firsthand experience of how these programs have helped them in their education journeys. You will also hear from a Latina leader, Gloria Trejo, an alumna from the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) and the Superintendent Leadership Academy Cohort 5, about the importance of Latino leadership in K-12 public schools. In addition, the event will highlight resources and videos that were created in collaboration between ACT and Univision, a trusted media outlet for the Spanish speaking Latino community, to help students and their parents navigate the pathway from high school to college.

We recently released a report, Championing Latino Student Success: When Latino Students Succeed, We All Succeed, with an accompanying infographic highlighting the work we have done through the years with Excelencia in Education, ALAS, and Univision.


Date: November 16
Time: 4:00 p.m., ET / 1:00 p.m., PT
Duration: 60 minutes


Tina GridironTina Gridiron, vice president, ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, a leader in higher education and philanthropy, joined ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning in 2019 and focuses her efforts on enhancing the work of the Center with its external partners, and shaping ACT’s broader efforts to close gaps in equity, opportunity, and achievement in education and the workforce.

Tina holds a Master of Arts in higher education administration and a Master of Arts in sociology, both from Stanford, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Panel moderator:

Nancy LewinDr. Nancy Lewin, senior director, ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, joined ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning in 2019 and focuses at the program and local level on the intersections of equity innovation and improvement in schools, districts and postsecondary institutions. She is responsible for the Center’s activities pertaining to school, district and post-secondary partner networks around improvement, innovation and equity aligned with the strategic focus of the Center. Dr. Lewin earned her doctorate in professional leadership at University of Houston and holds K-12 school district superintendent certificates in Texas and Virginia. She is a Rice Educators Entrepreneurial Fellow and has a love for learning, innovation and technology.


Sarita BrownSarita E. Brown, co-founder & president, Excelencia in Education, a national not for profit organization working to accelerate Latino success in higher education she co-founded in 2004. A thought leader in higher education, she has spent more than two decades at prominent national educational institutions and at the highest levels of government working to implement effective strategies to raise academic achievement and opportunity for low-income and minority students. She built a national model promoting minority success in graduate education at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1993 Ms. Brown was appointed Executive Director of the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans under President Bill Clinton and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley.

Gloria TrejoGloria Trejo, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, West Chicago District 33 and the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Superintendent Leadership Academy (SLA) alumna.

Gloria is a Superintendent Leadership Academy (SLA) alumni and was awarded “Latino Administrator of the Year” through National Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents in April 2017. She helped establish the state affiliate group Illinois Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (IALAS).

Gloria was recognized as the 2018 DuPage Elementary principal of the Year for 2018, the Illinois Elementary Principal of the Year, and the NAESP National Distinguished Principals Program. Gloria is completing her doctoral degree in Education in Leadership from Aurora University and will graduate with her Ed.D in December 2021.

Daniel AlcarazDaniel Alcaraz, student, Cardinal First program at North Central College

Daniel Alcaraz is a senior at North Central College pursuing a degree in Computer Science and a minor in Japanese. Originally from Aurora, Illinois, Dan is a first-generation college student and is the son of parents who immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico as young adults. Dan has been an active participant in Cardinal First since starting at North Central; served as an Ambassador (student leader/mentor) for first-year students in the program; and currently serves as the vice president of the NC Japan club. Dan works part-time on campus in the Information Technology Services (ITS) department helping set up new equipment and maintain 1000+ computers on campus.

Gloria TrejoCecilia Reyes, student, Ambiciones program at Howard Community College

Cecilia Elizabeth Reyes Linares is an Ambiciones student at Howard Community College (HCC). Cecilia was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the United States at 13 years old. Cecilia originally started at HCC as a nursing major but quickly discovered her interest in science and math courses. Cecilia’s goal is to graduate from HCC and ultimately become a physician’s assistant. Cecilia has a four-year-old daughter, RG, and she’s Cecilia’s motivation to continue her education. As a first-generation college student Cecilia knows this hard work will allow her to provide more for her family and motivate RG to pursue more.