2016 April – Academic Advancement for Latinos


Topic of the Talk: Academic Advancement for Latinos by Dr. Linda Gonzales

Linda Gonzales is the CEO of the non-profit New Directions for Academic Advancement. She wants to get more Latinos involved in the political process.

The best way to encourage the Latino vote is to explain how you can help their children, and what they want most for their children is literacy. Literacy is the number one issue mentioned by Latino voters and a global problem for kids. Latino voters need to know we care about them, not just their votes.

She discussed and provided statistics about how literacy affects both kids and adults. Reading keeps people out of prison. We need better pre-K and more reading specialists. Sometimes the Latino population is not fully aware of the services that they can access, and a fear of deportation may prevent them from pursuing them. She provided a handout describing what citizens can do by helping local schools and libraries and volunteering, and what parents can do to help their children.

Gonzales is also running for Oceanside City Council, which needs more women and Latino voices.

About Dr. Linda Gonzales:

She is the founder of New Directions for Academic Advancement, Inc. She earned a doctorate from The Claremont Graduate School and San Diego State University. She also holds two master’s degrees, one in multicultural education and a second in public administration, and an undergraduate degree with emphasis in Economics from Chapman University.

Dr. Gonzales has the distinction of being the academic architect of all California district academic turnarounds. Her forty-five years of public service include roles as superintendent, deputy superintendent, assistant superintendent, director, and elementary principal. She also taught and worked at the high school, middle school, and elementary levels. As a bilingual teacher, she used her native language, Spanish, and her personal knowledge of English acquisition to meet the needs of students. She chaired the California State Board of Education Committee for English Learners for Governor Gray Davis.

Her reputation as an advocate and fighter for children, women and minority rights began in San Antonio, Texas where she trained under Ernesto Cortes within the Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS) part of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). She worked as part of the voter registration project in the campaigns of Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and President Lyndon Johnson. In California, Dr. Gonzales connected to the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) and the Cesar Chavez United Farm Workers (UFW). In spite of her academic credentials and career success, Dr. Gonzales is best known for her advocacy for the rights of the poor, children, and women.