Meet our board: Gioconda Guerra Pérez
Gioconda Guerra Pérez believes an educated society is in everyone’s best interest. Her mother was a public school teacher in Panama for 30 years, and she instilled in Giaconda an understanding of how schools change the lives of individuals and families. “Historically, education has been seen as a privilege for a few; not as a human right for all, and I disagree with that notion.”
At an early age, Gioconda’s mother taught her the value of education. “I have never known someone so committed to her career as my mother. She cares for her children…her students. She taught in a very rural town where kids walk 2 to 3 miles a day to get an education.” As director of La Casa at University of Illinois, Gioconda is carrying on her mother’s work. She’s taught classes on Multicultural Education, developed curricula and provided professional development for K-12 teachers.
Now, Giaconda is taking on a new role as a member of Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation Board. She is excited about strengthening support for K-12 schools and being a voice for the foundation and local schools at the University of Illinois. “If we believe that education is the key to advance socially, politically and financially; then we must invest in the institution that would make that idea possible: schools and subsequently families and communities.”
Gioconda Guerra Perez is director of La Casa Cultural Latina which provides advocacy and support for Latino students at the University of Illinois. Before joining La Casa, Gioconda served as visiting assistant professor at Indiana University. She received a M.A in Sociology and Communication and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development and an M.A. both from the University of Louisville. Her professional and personal interest has been finding ways to help Latino students to achieve higher education.