Teresa Alonso was born in a small town called San Jeronimo Purenchecuaro in the state of Michoacán Mexico but grew up in Woodburn Oregon.
Teresa has worked for the state of Oregon, public schools, nonprofit organizations, and higher education institutions. Teresa opened her consulting business; Parakata Consulting LLC in 2017 aimed to help people, organizations, agencies, and others with leadership, professional, and education program development.
Master of Ceremony
Michael Reyes is originally from Puerto Rico though as part of a military family he grew up in many different parts of the country and even abroad. After graduating college, Michael focused his career on helping communities thrive. From coordinating youth programs to working in higher education, he spent over 12 years in educational settings. Michael also spent six years in philanthropy working closely with community-led efforts to create long-term systems change. Now, Michael works at the Oregon Department of Education leading the development and implementation of the Latino/a/x Student Success Plan, which supports community-led efforts to improve educational outcomes for Latinx students across the state. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Reynolds School District, currently the only all person-of-color led school board in the state. Michael lives in Troutdale with his wife, their 12-year-old son, 1-year-old daughter, and their dog.
Vanessa Nordyke is a mental health advocate, Salem City Councilor and a Senior Assistant Attorney General at the Oregon Department of Justice. She helped found the Marion County Veterans Treatment Court. She serves on the Salem Family YMCA Board of Directors and Oregon NAMI Board of Directors. She co-captained a mock trial team of Latino students through the Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality. In 2018, Vanessa made history as the youngest ever-elected President of the Oregon State Bar, a unified bar of about 19,500 lawyers and judges. As President, Vanessa brought wellness to the forefront, by overseeing the creation of mandatory mental health and substance training for all Oregon lawyers, and spearheading OSB’s first Wellness Summit. Vanessa graduated with honors from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a Bachelors of Science in International Political Economy in 2002. After graduating from University of Oregon School of Law in 2008, Vanessa was admitted to the prestigious Honors Attorney Program with the Oregon Department of Justice, where she has made her career as a civil rights lawyer. She is the recipient of Oregon DOJ’s Excellence in Justice Award, the Marion County Bar Association’s Carson Award for Service to the Community; and the University of Oregon School of Law’s Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.
Native Oregonian, Married Father of four, son of Mexican immigrants. He worked as a farmworker until 12 years of age, canneries until about 15, worked with his father who managed St Joseph’s Shelter, a homeless farmworker shelter in Mt. Angel then worked in fast food/restaurants before entering Real Estate.
He is currently co-owner of Tu Casa Real Estate & along with his family La Familia Cider. This year he is entering his 25th year in Real Estate and was appointed by the Governor to the Oregon Real Estate Board in 2018.
His passion is helping people support themselves through self employment, which led to him co-founding the Latino Business Alliance (2009) and through that work was invited to the White House for his advocacy for immigrant entrepreneurs. Lastly, he recently began his 1st term as Salem City Council for Ward 5 covering most of NE Salem.
Immigrating from Mexico to Woodburn, Oregon Jorge Urzua initiated his education in Head Start and progressed through the Woodburn School District. Upon graduating from PSU he spent time in Corporate America, before shifting careers to become a math teacher in Spanish at his hometown of Woodburn, Oregon. The change in careers was prompted by his passion for developing an admiration for learning among his majority and highly talented middle school latino students.
Middle School version of the film Stand and Deliver – Years of dedication to the students on behalf of the math team at Valor Middle School have grown the math program to feature multiple sections of accelerated math, Algebra 1, and Geometry. Jorge along with his colleagues at Valor Middle School have worked tirelessly to develop the math program and produce high caliber students of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds who will one day address the lack of representation across various sectors of society.