2020 State Conference

“Teaching, Learning, and Rising Up:

The Power of Education”

2020 State Conference

Featured Speakers


José Gonzalez is in his twenty-eighth year of teaching and currently works for Tucson Unified School District teaching the Culturally Relevant (CR) American History: Mexican American Perspective and CR American Government Social Justice Perspectives classes at Tucson High Magnet School. As a practitioner and a student advocate, José anchors his instruction by implementing a Xicanx Critical Race Theory, simultaneously interweaving a humanizing pedagogy, which at its core is grounded in an indigenous epistemology.  He operationalizes this indigenous epistemology to foster and facilitate within his student’s a strong sense of identity (ancestral and academic) and student’s voice   infusing a self-discipline approach to life. José received his bachelor’s from Emporia State University; a master’s from Northern Arizona University and is currently pursuing his doctorate in Educational Policy Studies and Practice at the University of Arizona.  

José Gonzalez

Opening Program Keynote Speaker

March 5, 2020 from 1:00-2:00pm



Mandi Torrez Keynote SpeakerMarch 6, 2020 from 11:30am-12:30pm

Mandi Torrez is the 2020 New Mexico Teacher of the Year. She has been teaching for ten years, eight of which have been at Placitas Elementary School. Ms. Torrez is a member of the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics and the National Education Association. She has served on the Placitas Elementary Leadership Team since 2017, and was nominated for the Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award in 2017.

Her first work with children was in college, while volunteering at an English as Second Language after-school program in a low-income housing community. Ms. Torrez’s volunteer service was her first look at the achievement gap and the support needed for minority students. A central component of Ms. Torrez’s teaching is her focus on cultural diversity. She has worked to highlight cultural awareness at Placitas Elementary by organizing annual celebrations for National Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month and National Black History Month. 

Prior to teaching, Ms. Torrez was a journalist for eight years. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. Ms. Torrez also attended Wheelock College in Boston, MA, where she received a Master of Science degree in Integrated Elementary Education and Special Education.


Conference Program