The following video is a recording of NYSALAS’s 20/20 Latino…
Maycanitza Perez is an Upper School Vice Principal for scholars with the last names O-Z at East. Ms. Perez is a native of Rochester, a graduate of East High School and Monroe Middle School, attending Schools #28 and #9 and schools in Salinas, Puerto Rico, in her early years. Ms. Perez received a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, a Master’s degree in Secondary Education and an Administrative certification from the University of Rochester. Throughout her professional career, Maycanitza has devoted her talents to serving Rochester students, spending five years as a teacher of Spanish at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and East High School. Since 2005, she has served in positions such as Assistant Principal, Program Administrator, Acting Principal, Freshman Academy Director and Executive Director. Ms. Perez is a proud alumni of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) Cohort IV. She is a proud Latina leader, who has the passion and drive to help all students succeed. Her message to our students is: “Never let go of your dreams, no matter the obstacles you may encounter; do the right thing at all times and encourage the heart of others to become positive change agents in our society."
Dr. Carlos M. Cotto Jr.
Carlos M. Cotto Jr., Ed.D. was born and raised in Lowell, Massachusetts. Dr. Cotto moved to Rochester, NY in 1998, where he began his career in education as a physical education teacher. Dr. Cotto was a physical education teacher for eight years in the Rochester City School District where he taught and coached at both the elementary and secondary level. Dr. Cotto then moved up to the position of Coordinator of Health, Physical Education & Athletics at East High School, the city’s largest comprehensive high school. In 2008, Dr. Cotto was promoted to the Executive Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics. In this position, he oversees all aspects of the interscholastic sports, physical education and health programs for the entire Rochester City School District, which consists of 52 schools and approximately 30,000 students.
Over the past 13 years, Dr. Cotto has managed a budget of over $4 MM dollars and interscholastic programming has increased by 25%. Rochester City School sports have produced 50 plus individual and team sectional Champions. Under his leadership the district added state of the art facilities and innovative support for student athletes with athletic trainers which support each school. Dr. Cotto has been instrumental in creating strong partnership with the city of Rochester and youth community organizations in an effort to increase access and opportunities for youth across the Rochester area.
Dr. Cotto has a Bachelor’s in Physical Education from Springfield College, a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from Saint John Fisher College, and a Doctorate in Executive Leadership from Saint John Fisher College.
Carlos is a member of the Latino Educational Task Force of La Cumbre. Additionally, Carlos is a member of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) a national organization that advocates for Latinos and Latino educators. Carlos is also a regional director and secretary, representing Rochester, NY for the New York State Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents a state affiliate of the national
ALAS organization.He also is an active member of Rochester’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Education, athletics and leadership have always been an important and major part of Carlos’ life, whether he was learning, teaching, mentoring, coaching, or overseeing youth programs. It is through education and athletic participation that he has learned the importance and value of living a healthy and physically active lifestyle, which he truly believes, must be the foundation of all of our lives. Carlos is a loving husband and father to three amazing children. Carlos is very active within the community, and continues to dedicate his life on helping others and improving the community.
Mr. Anibal Soler
Mr. Anibal Soler, Jr. is currently the Superintendent of Schools for the Batavia City School District. A small city high need district located in Genesee County that serves approximately 2,200 students.
Before his appointment as Superintendent of Batavia City Schools, Anibal served as the Associate Superintendent of Strategic Alignment and Innovation for Buffalo Public Schools, the second largest school district in New York State. In that role, his leadership focused on building and supporting Strong Community Schools, a turnaround strategy used to move the district’s lowest performing schools to schools in “good-standing”. He also supervised the District Athletics and Adult Education Division and lastly the district’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Prior to his role as an Associate Superintendent, Anibal was a Principal at North Park Academy in North Buffalo, where he helped establish North Buffalo’s first community school and helped transition the school from a 5-8th grade school to a new PreK to 8 Community School.
Previous to his role at North Park Academy, Anibal served 7 years as a high school Principal in Rochester City Schools. Through his professional journey he also has served in prior capacities as an Academy Director, Instructional Technology Teacher, and Art Teacher.
Born of Puerto Rican descent, Anibal was raised by a teenage mother that never completed high school. Despite this, education was always valued as the fundamental steppingstone to improving his life and allowing him to help others. Molded by both his cultural and educational experiences, Anibal has become strong-minded, a facilitator, a minority among the masses, a leader, and an agent of change, who is compassionate and true to his word. He inspires, encourages and challenges others to reach their potential. His actions are selfless and centered on the community he serves. He believes it is his intrinsic responsibility to build a legacy by making a difference that is rooted in social justice and education.
Prior to relocating to Buffalo, NY Anibal was an inaugural member of IBERO’s Latino Education Task Force of Rochester, N.Y., which published research about the needs of Latino students in the Rochester City Schools and continues to advocate for those needs. He also served as an initial member of the Latino Educational Task Force of La Cumbre, an organization composed of local Latino professionals looking to advocate for and promote the success of Latinos in the Rochester community.
Additionally, Anibal is a member of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS) a national organization that advocates for Latinos and Latino educators. In 2011-12, Anibal was a Charter Member of the inaugural ALAS Superintendent’s Leadership Academy in 2011-12. Currently, he serves as the Communications Officer and Regional Board member for the New York State Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (NYSALAS) representing Western, NY.
In 2014, Anibal was recognized by President Obama and The White House as a Latino Educator Champion of Change for his leadership and commitment to positive change for the Latino community.
In 2019, Mayor Byron Brown of the City of Buffalo recognized Anibal as a Champion of Education as part of Buffalo’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.
In October of 2020 Anibal was recognized as Daemen College’s Distinguished Alumni of the Year award. The Colleges’ top honor for an alumnus who is doing positive work in the community and in their professional field.
Finally, Anibal is a husband and proud father to four amazing kids. He enjoys sports, staying current with technology trends and reading education-themed articles and books. He is also continuing his education as he pursues his Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Most recently, in December, 2019 Anibal was selected as the next Superintendent for Batavia City Schools in Batavia, NY.
Cynthia Felix Jeffers
Cynthia Felix Jeffers is a recognized and accomplished educator in New York City with 29 years of experience. She has served in diverse leadership roles and settings including Network Leader,Senior Director of Bilingual Programs, Senior ELL/Bilingual Instructional Support Specialist, Administrator of Special Education, Curriculum Specialist, Director of Parent Outreach, Director of Bilingual/ESL Programs, Teacher, and her favorite PTA Mom. Under her leadership, she has opened and supported more than 500 bilingual programs, developed policies to support multilingual learners and students with disabilities, and has created nationally recognized curriculum and instructional programs. She is committed to ensuring all students, in particular multilingual learners, and students with disabilities, have access to receive a high-quality and equitable education. Ms. Felix Jeffers has presented at numerous national and local conferences and has served as a guest lecturer at colleges and universities. In addition, she is an active member of various professional organizations, community organizations and boards including the New York Academy of Public Education, Delegate at Large New York State Association for Bilingual Education, Secretary Board of Trustees NYU Family Health Centers, Community Board 7/Chair Public Safety Committee and County Committee Member Brooklyn Democratic Party AD 51 ED 35. She is the recipient of various awards and citations including Congressional, State Assembly, State Senate and City Council Citations for Educator, Administrator of the Year and was recently appointed as Chevalier in the Ordre des Palmes Aadémiques. Ms. Felix Jeffers has earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a master’s degree in Special Education, and an Advanced Certificate in School Administration & Supervision, from Brooklyn College. She’s a proud alumnus of NYC public schools and a Brooklyn native.
Mrs. Rodriguez has served as superintendent of schools for the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District, one of the largest public school districts in Orange County, New York since 2015.
Prior to that, she was the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Monroe-Woodbury from 2012-2014, and served as interim director, secondary education, from 2010-2012. Mrs. Rodriguez was also principal of the Monroe-Woodbury Middle School from 2005-2012 and assistant principal from 2001-2005.
Mrs. Rodriguez’s years of experience have provided her a K-12 perspective on all aspects of educational programs and insights in how to meet the diverse needs of learners. Her career began in the classroom where she served as a fifth grade teacher, an eighth grade teacher and then branched out as a guidance counselor in a private school district. She then served as dean of students and a high school social studies teacher in the East Ramapo Central School District.
Mrs. Rodriguez earned a bachelor's degree from Manhattan College, Riverdale, NY; master’s degree from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY; school administrator/supervisor certification from The College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY: and school district leader certification from Bank Street College, New York, NY.
She is a member of The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and the New York State Council of School Superintendents. She is the President-Elect of the New York State Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. Mrs. Rodriguez was awarded the 2012 New York State Association for Women in Administration Pathfinder Award, the 2014 New York State English Council Educator of Excellence Award, 2018 Educational Leadership Award and was named the 2019 Education Icon of the Hudson Valley. She was a presenter at the 2016 New York State School Board Association annual conference.
Elsie Rodriguez resides in Warwick, NY, with her husband Juan. She has two grown children and is the proud grandmother of two grandchildren.
Mr. Eudes S. Budhai
Mr. Eudes S. Budhai is the Superintendent of the Westbury Union Free School District, New York. He is a visionary and innovative leader with a keen sense of forward thinking to shape the lives of children, families and communities. He has served in various capacities in the field of education for 28 years.
Mr. Budhai’ s educational experience began in a private school as an assistant teacher working with students who required extensive emotional and academic support. Since then, he has served as a teacher, staff developer, Department Chairperson, a building and district administrator, and an adjunct professor.
Mr. Budhai serves on various local, state and national organizations as an instructional leader advocating equitable opportunities for ALL students. He has been instrumental in developing curriculum, providing professional development to administrators, teachers and families and securing funds that enhance the educational experiences to reduce the equity gap for the lives of students. He supported various states adoption of the Seal of Biliteracy during his Presidency of National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE). Mr. Budhai has been recognized by District Administrator and NYSED for sustaining graduation rates for students of color above the states average and NYSED Model School Research of Excellence.
Mr. Budhai has earned a Bachelor’s of Science in. Elementary Education/ Special Education, a Master’s of Science in Multicultural/Bilingual Education, Professional Diploma in Educational and Supervision Leadership and is currently a doctoral candidate."
NYSABE Bilingual Administrator of the Year 2018
Denise Olivera Schira
Denise Olivera Schira currently serves as Director of School Culture and Climate supporting 250 PK-12 schools in Manhattan in social emotional learning, restorative practices, crisis de-escalation intervention, anti-bias training, bullying prevention, behavior support, emotionally and culturally responsive training, environment, mindfulness, and student services compliance. She is currently on the Executive Boards of Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, Latino Caucus CSA, and New York State Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, where she serves as Vice President and Regional Director for New York City. She has previously served on the Executive Boards of Education Administrators Association and Association of Dominican-American Supervisors and Administrators, and is additionally affiliated with New York Academy of Public Education, New York League of Puerto Rican Women, New York Puerto Rican Day Parade Education Leadership.
Ms. Schira has been a NYC educator for over 25 years, having served in prior roles as Deputy Network Leader and Director of Student Services and Operations (supporting 35 schools in 4 boroughs across 12 districts), Assistant Superintendent Deputy Executive Director of Operations and Student Services (supporting 350 Bronx schools, director over a team of 9 Borough Directors and departments, and 80 staff members), Lead Manager of Operations and Student Services (supporting 280 Queens schools, 9 Borough Directors and departments, and 65 staff members), Special Assistant to Regional Superintendents (supporting 130 Bronx schools, 17 Superintendents, and 520 administrators), Special Projects Regional Coordinator, Regional Reading and Assessment Coordinator, Regional Literacy Coach, Assistant Principal, Literacy/Math/Science/Art Staff Developer, School Leadership Team Chair, and Bilingual/Monolingual Teacher. She has been recognized and honored by various organizations for her excellence in educational leadership.
Denise was born, raised, and still resides in the Bronx. She was the first in her Puerto Rican family to go away to college and graduated from Cornell University on a full ride as a Cornell Tradition Scholar with a Bachelor of Science. She later obtained her Master of Science in Education for Leadership in Supervision at Bank Street College of Education. Flamenco dance brings balance and joy to her busy scholastic life, but her greatest inspirations are her two sons, Ryan (32) and Devan (30), and her soul mate of 38 years, Peter.
Dr. Roberto Padilla
Dr. Roberto Padilla is the Superintendent of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District in Newburgh, New York. From humble beginnings as a child, Padilla learned early on in his life the true meaning of resiliency and grit. He is a life-long educator having been a teacher, assistant principal, principal, coach, and leadership consultant. Even today, he considers himself a teacher who just happens to be a superintendent.
Padilla was a teacher and principal in New York City. He is widely recognized for his leadership in turning around failing schools and supporting school district leaders both nationally and internationally on change leadership. He considers himself to be an equity warrior whose purpose is to give all children a fighting chance at having a productive life. He is committed to placing effective teachers and school leaders in every school.
In 2019, Dr. Padilla was honored with the prestigious Leaders to Learn From award by Education Weekly. This national recognition highlighted his work in a leading districtwide culture focused on educational equity.
Dr. Padilla was appointed to Harvard University’s Principal Center’s Advisory Board where he also has served as a group leader and moderator. He received his doctorate from Fordham University. Padilla is a graduate of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents Academy and the AASA Superintendent National Certification Program. He was a fellow at Columbia University and was a Deeper Equity Fellow with the International National Network of Public Schools. He has served on many non-profit Boards and leadership panels throughout his career.
Alex has earned degrees and professional certificates from Fordham University, Manhattan College, Sage Colleges, and Harvard University. In 2015, Alex was invited by the Brazilian Consulate to deliver workshops to their principals and superintendents. In 2016, he was honored as the outstanding administrator by the Latino Caucus of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) and inducted into the New York Academy of Public Education. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Leadership and Excellence in Education Award by the Association of Dominican-American Supervisors and Administrators. In 2018 he was recognized as the Latino Administrator of the Year by the Association for Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS).
As Principal in the Bronx, he moved his school from a Local Assistance Plan to a School in Good Standing while serving on the Executive Board for the Council of School Administrators, representing over 1,700 principals across the City of New York. As Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education at East Ramapo School District, he assisted moving several schools into Good Standing while increasing the graduation rates for the high schools.
Alex currently an Assistant Superintendent at the City School District of New Rochelle.
This link provides a part of Alex’s journey:
"Growing up in the Bronx was not a life sentence for Alex Marrero – it was motivation to achieve something better. Little did he know he would end up leading a school that was in the very place where he played stickball with his brother when they rested from their work selling Avon products on the street."
@DrAlexMarrero on twitter
linkedin.com/in/drmarrero on LinkedIN
Dr. David Mauricio
Dr. David Mauricio joined the Peekskill City School District as Superintendent of Schools in July of 2018.
Born in New York City, Dr. Mauricio was raised by his mother and father, both of whom are Latinos. His father was born in the Dominican Republic to a large family. His mother was born in Puerto Rico. While his home was not financially wealthy, Mauricio’s life was rich in love, guidance, religion, a sense of family and a strong work ethic. His parents taught him to give to others and this virtue was evident in how the family lived. These realities and perspectives drove Dr. Mauricio to work hard in order to be successful in life. Many mentors and caring adults have assisted him throughout his entire life, leading him to become the person he is today.
Dr. Mauricio graduated from the New York City Public School system. He pursued his post-secondary education in Buffalo where he received the following degrees: BS in Ed., Special Education & Elementary Education from S.U.N.Y. College at Buffalo; MS in Ed., Bilingual Special Education from S.U.N.Y. College at Buffalo; Certificate of Advanced Study, School Administrator and Supervisor from S.U.N.Y. College at Buffalo; and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from University at Buffalo.
Upon graduating from college, Dr. Mauricio began working for the Buffalo Public Schools and spent 25 years working for these schools in the following capacities: Special Education Teacher (Monolingual and Bilingual) at School #33; Educational Specialist, Committee on Special Education (CSE), Director and Supervisor of Special Education, Principal of Lorraine Elementary School, Principal of Bennett High School and Community Superintendent.
Additionally, Dr. Mauricio is a co-founding member and President-elect of the New York State Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.
Dr. Mauricio has always been extremely committed to the betterment of the communities he has worked with, and has received numerous recognition for his efforts and achievements.
Today, he is able to give back to his mother by helping to care for her in the golden years of life. He is husband to Kimberly and a father to a son and daughter.