Sal Carranza (Photo: Thomas Yonash for Madison Magazine)

Since its inception, Salvador Carranza has been president (and the face) of the Latino Education Council, an ever-growing group of Latino educators and community members in the Madison area who work to create a better future for the Latino community by supporting their academic success and providing appropriate and timely information and support for parents and teachers so that they can more effectively help students succeed.

Recently at a Latino Action Support Network (LASUP) meeting, the executive committee voted to bring new leadership for the Latino Education Council electing Ananda Mirilli as the new president. Carranza will remain as past president to help with the transition. Carranza tells Madison365 that he is involved in so many things in the community and that he felt like it was a good time for transition. He adds that he’s excited to pass on the presidency to Mirilli.

“I’ve been following Sal’s leadership for the past 5-6 years now and I really appreciate all of the work he has led and all of the doors he has opened, for me individually but also for the Latino community,” Mirilli tells Madison365. “He’s always put pressure on systems to make sure that our community becomes visible.”
At Mirilli’s side as part of the new leadership of the Latino Education Council executive team is Grisel Rodriguez Claudio, vice president; Oscar Mireles, treasurer; and Clara Barbosa, secretary.

“This is a good time for Ananda to really take the reins of the Latino Education Council,” Carranza tells Madison365. “Ananda is very passionate about education. We’re really excited about the possibilities and Ananda will be starting on a new strategic initiative and we will be moving forward from there.”

Carranza, a senior academic planner at the UW System, helped to start the Latino Education Council in 2008 because he saw a fast-growing Latino student population and the need to strongly advocate and support the Latino students in the school district.

Members of the Latino Education Council’s executive team at a previous Karaoke for Education Scholarship fundraiser: (L-r) Baltzar De Anda-Santana, Sal Carranza, Ananda Mirilli, Clara Barbosa, Grisel Claudio, and Oscar Mireles.

“The Latino Education Council started – incidentally, like many things start – with a meeting at LASUP,” says Carranza, who earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from UW–Madison. “A group of us felt that as the population of Latinx students and English language learners were growing, we felt that the school district wasn’t doing enough to support them and that we needed some organization that would advocate specifically to have the opportunity and ability to actually advocate instead of providing services.”

The Latino Education Council began a tradition of working with officials to achieve better outcomes for Latino students first working with former MMSD Superintendent Dan Nerad.

“We did a strategic planning meeting for the Latino Education Council and invited community members and education leaders to get together and discussed what priorities we would like to see from the school district,” Carranza remembers. “Then we aligned that to the strategic plan of the new superintendent to a big meeting and look at what we have come up with that aligns with his plan. And that’s how it started.”

Since then, the Latino Education Council has been meeting with the MMSD superintendent every year.

“When Jen [Cheatham] first started, we invited her to a big meeting, as well,” Carranza says. “We’ve been meeting with her ever since. She presents her report to the Council and we present our recommendations to her.”

Four years ago, the Latino Education Council Became a 501c3 organization and started getting individual and organizational members. The Council has about 200 members from organizations like Omega School, Boys and Girls Club, Monona School District, Madison School District, LUCES, Latino Academy for Workforce Development, Nuestro Mundo, and more.

“With each member, we do different things to partner and to support them as well,” Carranza says. “We partner with Nuestro Mundo, for example, every year. This will be our 7th year of hosting an annual dual-immersion language summit where parents and teachers come together to talk about what’s going well, what they need to see, what they’d like us to advocate for, etc. Then we move those recommendations forward.”

Former Latino Education Council President Sal Carranza presents an award to Rocio Rivas at a LUCES Awards Banquet.

The Latino Education Council sponsors a scholarship for talented Latino students through LUCES and help students at fairs and forums and panels and filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

“We also meet one-on-one with students once a month and give them one-on-one advice about college-related questions,” he says.

Carranza, who has been Latino Education Council president since the very beginning, will miss some of his duties that go with the job. But he will still be the past president and part of the executive committee. However, now it’s time for Mirilli to do her thing.

“I’m excited about this opportunity to lead the Council. I’m excited about our new board,” Mirilli says. “The issues continue to be very challenging with our demographic shifts and the threats to our collective humanity and to policies. I’m looking forward to working with local Dane County officials in the education system to enhance our Latino youths and their families’ experiences.”

Written by David Dahmer

David Dahmer

A. David Dahmer is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Madison365.

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