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

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)


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 Advisory Committee on Equity of Educational Services for Students (ACEESS) Community Presentation Request Qualtrics form.

American Indian


Tiffany Cisco

My name is Tiffany Cisco. I am a special education teacher at Moroni Elementary School. Moroni Elementary School is a dual language immersion school for both English and Spanish speaking students in the rural area of Central Utah. This year will be the start of my fourth year as a special education teacher. Currently, I am in my second semester of my master’s program for Curriculum and Instruction.

My previous education and job titles have been a Paraprofessional, Commercial Diver, Diver Medic, and super mom. I love to travel and have lived in many states like Ohio, California, Louisiana, and my favorite, most beautiful place I live is Utah. I have enjoyed my time as a PTA President, PTA Vice President, School Land Trust Committee President, and soccer coach.

I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends camping, hiking, swimming, and laughing. I am married to a wonderful husband of twenty years and have two amazing children.

Brenda Whitehorse

Brenda Whitehorse’s maternal clan is Haltsooí Diné’é’ (Meadow People) and her paternal clan is Tsi’naajinii’(Black Streak Wood People), her maternal grandparents are Táchii’ní (Red Running into Water People), and her paternal grandparents are Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House People). Brenda is originally from Rehoboth, New Mexico, she had resided in Utah for over 30 years and has made Utah her home. She has been married for 28 years and has one son.

She has been an elementary school principal on the Navajo reservation in southeastern Utah for 14 years for the Bureau of Indian Education. She also was an elementary school teacher for 5 years at Montezuma Creek Elementary School in southeastern Utah. Other positions she has had over the years are Instructional Coach and Education Specialist. Her passion and drive has always been in the field of Education, having a background as an educator and school leader has helped her see student services from various viewpoints.

Brenda returned to San Juan School District, as a Heritage Language Director three years ago. She oversees the Title VI Indian Education program, Johnson O’Malley program, and Bilingual Education, and she is grateful for the opportunity to work with leaders, schools, educators and students across the great San Juan County, in Utah.

Brenda’s passion is helping to preserve her native Navajo (Diné) language and culture. By sharing the language and cultural teachings with the native youth, Brenda hopes that they can have a strong foundation of knowing their kinship (kʼé) clan system and learn their native Navajo language. Brenda would like to see students acknowledge their grass roots knowledge from their heritage to prepare them for future success. In addition, Brenda is doing her part in preserving the Navajo language by overseeing curriculum development projects in her district that relate to teaching the Navajo language in grades K-12. She works closely with 8 Heritage Language teachers on curriculum development, lesson study and formative assessments, and professional development.

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

Dr. Beam (Adebimpe Idowu Deji-Olatunde)

Adebimpe Deji-Olatunde also known as Beam has a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy from the University of Utah. She completed her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in educational administration and counseling, in overseas. Beam has over 20 years’ experience in education working as a teacher, school counselor, and an administrator in K-12. Her bi-cultural background and her experience in education and community development have provided her with several opportunities and community leadership roles.

Presently, Beam is the chair of the resident committee and a member of the Board of University Neighborhood Partners (UNP), Board member of NeighborWorks Salt Lake and a Board member of Dreamers Wish Foundation – a non-profit organization focusing on improved education for children in Utah and overseas. Beam is also a member of a research group - Design Circle, bridging school - family collaboration in Utah.

Beam’s passion for social justice motivates her to seek equitable education for children and adults in Utah. She believes it is critical to collaborate in the efforts that make quality education accessible to all. Beam feels it is a privilege for her to support the Utah State Board of Education in the efforts towards equity of educational services for students while she represents the Black/African community in Utah. Beam believes that “together we will make a paradigm shift in education”.


Karilyn Frazier

Information coming soon.

Asian American

Sarah Baird

Sarah was born in Manila, Philippines and was adopted and raised in Holladay, Utah. After graduating from Skyline High School, she attended BYU-Hawaii for two years and then finished and graduated from BYU-Provo with her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. Following this, she received her Masters in Education from Utah State University and earned endorsements in Gifted/Talented Education and English as a Second Language. Sarah has been teaching for the last 22 years both in 4th and 5th grade. She is currently teaching 5th grade in the Chinese Dual Immersion at Lone Peak Elementary in Canyons School District. Advocating for a safe and positive learning environment, Sarah continues to maintain high expectations for herself and her students. Her overall desire is to build a strong and trusting relationship between the educational community, parents, and teachers. She currently resides in South Jordan with her husband, her three children, and their many pets.


Matt Okabe

My name is Matthew Okabe and I have taught for 12 years in the Salt Lake City School District. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Brigham Young University - Provo. I also received a Master’s Degree in Curriculum Studies with an emphasis on becoming a Literacy Specialist from the University of Hawai’i - Manoa. I enjoy spending time with family, cars, and the occasional trip to Disneyland or Hawai'i. I am grateful and excited to participate in the ACEESS Committee and represent the Asian subgroup. I’m always available for questions or concerns and look forward to promoting progress in education.


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/Native Hawaiian


Latu Kinikini

Information coming soon.



Information coming soon.


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.

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.


Amy Sandgren

Information coming soon.