It is with great pride that we celebrate Ms. Claudia Menéndez as the Outstanding 2021/22 Master Student BUENO Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity.
Ms. Menéndez earned her BA in Latin American Studies from the University of Calgary. Claudia was a dedicated Spanish Literacy teacher at Lincoln Middle School, Family Engagement Specialist and Cultural Mediator for the Poudre School District (PSD) for over 10 years.
Claudia began working with the BUENO-Poudre NPD grant and PI/Director Tammy Molinar-LeBlanc and Graduate Program Assistant Ángeles Osorio Cooper in 2016 as one of the Family Engagement Specialist. Her collaborative work was instrumental in the development of the grant’s professional development series for the district’s 25 family liaisons. She expresses that her work with the BUENO Center and her role in the NPD grant with PSD students and families has inspired and improved her “capacity to relate to people and understand what it's like to be different in a place like Fort Collins.”
She was accepted to the BUENO-Poudre cohort in 2019 as one of 30 Secondary teachers. She excelled not only academically but quickly emerged as a leader in her cohort. Her dedication and commitment to equity for all inspired her fellow classmates to always consider ways that help minimize impacts to historically under-represented and under-resourced students, families, and communities throughout the Poudre School District.
She is currently serving as the inaugural Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for the city of Fort Collins. In her new role, Menéndez is tasked with creating and building the city’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs that will create a stronger sense of belonging and advance equity for all social identities. Claudia outlined approaching the job with an intersectional lens and with a mindset of “inclusivity is not exclusivity.” This was also her approach to her work in the EECD-MA program.
We know her work leading programs that promote understanding, equity, and inclusionary practices will benefit the entire state.