Keynote Speaker: Curtis Acosta, Save Ethnic Studies, Arizona
As an educator, Curtis Acosta has been an instrumental part in helping create the largest Mexican American/Raza Studies high school program in the United States. It is a program centered on student empowerment, anti-racist, multicultural curriculum with a social justice emphasis. He is currently in his 17th year of teaching in TUSD, fifteen of those years in his current position as an English teacher at Tucson High Magnet School. The last eight years of which he has developed and taught Chicano/Latino Literature.
Before moving to Tucson in 1994, Curtis received his BA from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He later obtained a Master’s of Arts degree at the University of Arizona where he is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning and Socio-cultural Studies. As a teacher and scholar he has been honored to present his work and findings in numerous conferences throughout the United States. He was recently honored as a finalist for the 2012 UA/Circle K Teacher of the Year. Curtis was also the 2011 University of Arizona Goodman Award winner, a 2011 Erasmus Circle Scholar, 2010 Tucson High Magnet School Teacher of the Year, and the 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Classic Dream award recipient.
Curtis is a proud husband to Patricia Acosta and father to Ollin and Santiago Acosta. His family, colleagues and students have provided the support and inspiration for his work as an educator.
Closing Speaker, Adeola Oredola, Director of Youth In Action, Providence
Adeola A. Oredola is the Executive Director of Youth In Action (YIA), a youth led non-profit in Providence, RI. For 14 years YIA has provided opportunities for over 1,300 young people of color to develop critical leadership skills and create positive social change throughout their communities. YIA upholds a model where youth actually lead, manage and coordinate multiple community outreach programs and comprise the majority of the organization’s Board of Directors. YIA has grown from a small grass-roots organization into one that is nationally recognized and a force for building youth power and community collaboration. Like the youth YIA serves, Adeola grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Providence. She attended Providence Public Schools, then Brown University, and now lives in the Washington Park area of the city. As a product of the community in which she works, Adeola is truly dedicated to every aspect of youth and community development in Providence. At the age of 22 she was the youngest person ever to serve on the Providence School Board, where for three years she worked to ensure that both youth and community members have a stronger voice in school policy initiatives. Adeola is now 31 and serves as a Board Member with AS220, the Women’s Fund of RI, and the Providence Plan. She was also awarded the distinct honor of being a 2011 RI Foundation fellow, which allowed her to travel to her father’s home country of Nigeria and bring YIA’s model to the international stage.