Director of Community Engagement
Jessica leads the Community Engagement team at Advance Illinois. As a proud first generation Chicana with roots stemming from the south west side of Chicago, she is committed to elevating the experiences of Black, Brown, and communities traditionally marginalized to advance equity in education. With experience spanning from Colorado to Illinois, Jessica sees the urgency to organize to disrupt the inequities that continue to impact our communities.
She is committed to systemic change in education that addresses barriers and uplifts communities to access the opportunities our communities need to thrive. During her time at Advance Illinois, she has focused on elevating and centering the voices of communities across the state that have been marginalized by the policy making process. She manages the organization’s Educator Advisory Council, executes on coalition strategy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion work on key education issues.
Jessica studied journalism with concentrations in Latinx studies and political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While there, she covered issues relating to the Black and Latinx experience at the university and built unity within the Latinx student community through her involvement at La Casa Cultural Latina. Prior to joining Advance Illinois, Jessica taught 6th and 8th grade language arts, as well as 9th grade multicultural studies.