Icela Pelayo

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Fellowship Role: Deputy Director, Options for Parents and Families Division, New Mexico Public Education Department (Santa Fe, NM)

Teach For America Alumni: Los Angeles 2003

Dr. Icela Pelayo is deputy director of the Options for Parents and Families Division at New Mexico Public Education Department (PED), where she oversees charter school authorizing processes and practices and leads the team in providing technical assistance and support to and evaluating the performance of state-authorized charter schools across NM. Previously, Icela served as the PED’s bilingual multicultural education director for five years. In that role, she secured a $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to direct the Academic Language Development for All (ALD4ALL) project. ALD4ALL provided educator trainings on the academic language learning needs of English Learners (ELs) and culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students participating in bilingual multicultural education programs. ALD4ALL successfully demonstrated the value of job-embedded professional learning, resulting in 70% of participating teachers improving their effectiveness by one or two levels and/or maintaining a rating of effective or higher.

Icela earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in urban education policy, K–12 policy and practice. She focused specifically on the intersection of policy, instruction, and learning of ELs, especially related to culturally and linguistically responsive instruction, educator quality, and professional development. Prior to her doctoral studies, she earned her M.A. in elementary education from Loyola Marymount University while serving as a public school teacher of CLD and EL students in South Los Angeles. She earned a B.A. in political economy and Spanish literature from the University of California, Berkeley.