The Utah State Board of Education created the Advisory Committee on Equity of Educational Services for Students (ACEESS) in January 2016. ACEESS meets monthly before each regularly-scheduled meeting of the Board.
Policy 5001: Advisory Committee on Equity of Educational Services for Students (ACEESS)
Utah State Board of Education Policy, Law and Professional Practices
ACEESS is a 15-member committee established to advise the State Board regarding its efforts to support equity of educational services for students.
Two representatives each of the following communities:
Five members with expertise or experience serving students who are at risk for under achievement.
Community advocacy groups may request an opportunity to present information to ACEESS in regard to educational concerns and suggestions. To request time with ACEESS, please fill out the Community Groups Request Google Form.
Over the past 28 years, Mr. Brian Yazzie has devoted his professional career working and advocating on behalf of underserved Native American children and families. Before working for the Provo City School District as the Diversity and Equity Coordinator, Mr. Yazzie came from the non-profit sector working 18 years as the Director of Native American Services for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale AZ and as the National Director of Native Services for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Building organizational capacity and community partnerships has been a focus for Mr. Yazzie everywhere he has worked. Mr. Yazzie believes that organizations must have a strong foundation to meet the unique challenges of a community to successfully meet the needs of their youth. When creating programs Mr. Yazzie focuses on four areas: education, citizenship, culture, and family. Mr. Yazzie believes if organizations can focus on these four areas and work in partnership with parents/legal guardians/caregivers and the community, it will provide young people the foundation to have a greater opportunity to be successful in their adult life.
Mr. Yazzie has a BS degree in Management from the University of Phoenix; Mr. Yazzie currently resides in Provo Utah with his wife of 29 years; they have four children 2 of which are married and one grandchild. Huge BYU fan!
Rozanna Benally-Sagg, a program specialist for the Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs, comes from a lineage of Diné (Navajo) culture, language, and teachings. Her parents and grandparents instilled in her the value and importance of education that has remained strong throughout her life. She provided speech-language therapy services for 10 years to school-age children in public schools and private companies. She has also provided early childhood education, adult literacy education, parenting education, and structured literacy interaction between parents and their children as a program director for a family literacy program. She continues to be a proponent of encouraging literacy education by providing culturally relevant books to Native American children through local family literacy events.
Amadou Niang is a former Fulbright scholar and a grassroots African immigrant and refugee community advocate. He earned an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D. in Education, Culture, and Society from The University of Utah. Dr. Niang has been a professional educator since 1984. He taught English and French at the secondary level in Mali, West Africa and philosophical, sociological, and multicultural foundation of education courses at the University of Utah. He has been an English Language Development (ELD) teacher in Salt Lake City School District since 2008. He is passionate about educational equity and social justice.
Claustina Mahon-Reynolds has been in education for 21 years. She has a doctoral degree from The University of Utah. Claustina has worked in K-12 and higher education with both undergraduate and graduate students. She has worked with various student populations including special education, general education, English Language Learners, and Refugees students in both Title I and non-Title I settings. Her research interests include working with English Language Learners and self-advocacy, equity and equitable outcomes for ALL students (impact vs. intent), parent outreach and bias within educational systems and structures. Currently, Claustina works as a secondary administrator in Park City School district and is an adjunct professor at USU in the Educational Leadership program.
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John Arthur teaches sixth grade at Meadowlark Elementary, a Title I school in Salt Lake City. The proud son of a Korean small business owner and an American soldier, he graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in history. He went on to receive both his Master of Arts in Teaching and his Master of Education from Westminster College. He has earned endorsements in English as a Second Language and K-6 Special Education (mild/moderate disabilities) to ensure that he is able to meet the needs of all students in his classroom. When he’s not at the schoolhouse, John’s at home with his wife, Stacey, and their two little girls.
Susie Estrada has worked in out-of-school time programs and early childhood education for ten years. She began her work in California doing work in gang prevention and intervention in addition to teaching in preschool classrooms. When moving to Utah, Susie began to work with ELL students and high-risk students in Utah County enrolled with the Provo School District. Susie has also been involved in working with Promise South Salt Lake and Headstart. She has a master's degree in Public Administration as well as in Education, Culture, and Society through the University of Utah. Currently, she is the Afterschool & Preschool Director with Dual Immersion Academy, a Title I school in Salt Lake City. Susie is most interested in making sure that all students are able to find the support needed to graduate with the skills, coping mechanism, and knowledge to navigate systems for long-term success.
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Alli currently works as an Assistant Principal at Northwest Middle School in Salt Lake City School District. She earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah. Alli serves as a member of the Board of Governors for the Human Rights Campaign and is a co-founding member of Friends, Allies, and Mentors of the LGBTQ community (FAM). Through her work with FAM, Alli regularly provides professional learning experiences to educators on issues of intersectionality and LGBTQ youth.
Donell Pons completed a dual MED and MAT in teaching and learning from Westminster College with a certification in Special Education. She was a member of the taskforce that wrote the Utah Dyslexia Handbook. Ms. Pons has taught secondary Language Arts and worked at a charter school focusing on supporting students on the Autism spectrum. Ms. Pons implemented a full literacy program at a public charter school where every educator and paraeducator k-5 was trained in the same Structured Literacy reading program. She has had numerous articles published in Language Magazine, The Learning Counsel, ASCD SmartBrief and Landmark Academy Newsletter regarding blended learning, reading instruction, and appropriate accommodations. She has also produced a nationally recognized three-part webcast series for Reading Horizons on teaching reading and recognizing dyslexia. Ms. Pons is currently teaching adults in the workplace who would like to improve their reading skills.
Kalina Aleksandrova Potts, born in the town of Rousse, Bulgaria in 1981 in a family of engineers, has two sisters:a twin and a younger sister. Graduated English Language High School and studied Elementary Education and English as a Second Language in the University of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. First came to Utah in 2003 to participate in a Summer Abroad Program for college students. Met husband Chat and returned to Utah in 2005. Started as a volunteer at Lincoln elementary school in 2007, continued teaching 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. Graduated with a M.Ed. from Westminster College in 2012. Facilitated and designed courses for the Utah State Board of Education 2012-2017. Served as instructional coach at Granger Elementary School for five years, actively engaging teachers and students by chairing the Literacy Committee (2014-2017) and co- chairing the STEM/Math Committee during its initial implementation year (2017- 2018). Appointed Advisory Committee on Equity of Educational Services for Students (ACEESS) at-large member representing students at risk. Doctoral candidate at the University of Utah Educational Leadership and Policy Department-dissertation topic- Dual Capacity Mathematics Instruction Framework, aiming to increase teacher effectiveness through the acquisition of deeper Mathematical Content Knowledge.