Advisory Committee on Equity of Educational Services for Students (ACEESS) Advisory Group

About Us

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

Membership

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:

  • American Indian;
  • African American/Black;
  • Asian American;
  • Hispanic/Latino American;
  • Pacific Islander American; and

Five members with expertise or experience serving students who are at risk for under achievement.

Present to ACEESS

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.

American Indian

 

Vacant Position

Information coming soon.

Brian Yazzie

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!

African American/Black

Claustina Mahon-Reynolds

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.

Amadou Niang

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.

Asian American

 

Vacant Position

Information coming soon.

John Arthur

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.

Hispanic/Latino

Susie Estrada

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.

 

Dina Kohler

Information coming soon.

Pacific Islander American

Fangaafa Tu'ifua

  • Tongan American.
  • Obtained a Bachelor of Arts, English Literature Degree from Brigham Young University (BYU) Hawaii
  • Taught Grade 6 at Mana Academy Charter School at the elementary campus since the 2015-2016 school year
  • Currently teaches Grades 6-8 English at Mana Academy Charter School secondary campus
  • Co-chair for ACEESS

At-Large

Mindy Layton

Accomplished Scholar Leader: Education Doctorate in K12 Leadership and Policy Candidate; National Board-Certified Teacher Professional Development Participant; Early Childhood and Elementary Education K- 6 License; Master of Arts in Education, Culture and Society; Teaching English to Students of Other Language; Bachelor of Arts: German Language and Literature.

Experienced Instructional Leader: English Learners Educator and Interventionist at Woodrow Wilson Elementary for Multilingual Learners; University of Utah Instructor; Fourth Grade Teacher; Fifth/Sixth Grade Teacher; Kindergarten Teacher; Ninth to Twelfth Grade U.S. History and English Instructor; Residential Advisor and Student Leader; German Language Instructor; First Grade ESL Instructor.

Accomplished Leader: Education International World Congress Delegate (2019), Bangkok, Thailand. Presenter National Association of Multicultural Education (2017); Presenter Utah Association of Multilingual Educator (2017); Trainer of Training Family Home Visit Project, (2016-2017); Teacher of the Year for Granite Education Association (2014); 2002 Olympics Volunteer, German Translator; Olympic Committee; Salt Lake City, Utah. Congress-Bundestag: Youth Exchange; Vocational Scholar.

Professional Associations: National, Utah and Granite Education Association (NEA, UEA, GEA); Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD); Utah Association of Bilingual Educator and International/Intermountain TESOL (iTESOL).

Bora Lee

Bora Lee is the director of the Utah Assistive Technology Program (UATP) within The Center for Persons with Disabilities (CPD) at Utah State University.

She came to UATP as an Americorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) member in 2019. That same year, Bora earned her Doctor of Education (EdD) in educational leadership from California State University, Los Angeles, focusing on transitioning to adulthood for minority students with disabilities. In 2020 Bora became UATP’s multicultural coordinator. She assumed the director’s role in 2021.

She has over ten years of experience working with individuals with disabilities. Her expertise includes transitioning to adulthood for youth with developmental disabilities, working with families from diverse backgrounds, augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices (AAC), and accessibility. Bora earned her Master of Arts (M.A) in Moderate to Severe Disabilities from California State University, Los Angeles. Her bachelor’s in visual communication design is from Handong Global University in Pohang, Korea.

Donell Pons

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.

Kimberly Read

Kimberly (she/her/hers) believes that effective learning and teaching cannot take place in settings where students and teachers do not feel safe--that students at risk for underachievement must have a safe and supportive environment to reach their full potential. Kimberly is committed to advocating for LGBTQIA+ and other marginalized students and educators in Utah. She has actively worked in her community to educate parents and local religious leaders on issues facing LGBTQIA+ youth and families. She gathered COVID relief donations for the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake, and clothing for a clinic that serves and supports queer people in need. Kimberly worked in the mental health field for over ten years—working primarily with adolescents. While studying law, her research interests included gay rights in Utah; gender inclusion policies in public schools; and the intersection of colonization and assimilation of Native American Indians and the law. Kimberly is currently employed as a supervised associate with a family law firm in Salt Lake City while preparing to take her licensing exam. Kimberly earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Utah and her Juris Doctor from Mitchell Hamline School of Law. Kimberly has two incredible children beginning their freshman year in high school.