I was raised in Tempe, Arizona and have migrated to Wisconsin due to my love for the mission of Wisconsin Lutheran College. I am a former High School English teacher and coach. When I am not teaching or meeting with students, I am often consulting with schools or conducting workshops with faculty and parents on the topic of student success. I have had the privilege of working with schools in over 20 states and six countries. I also serve as a Mentor in the Higher Learning Commission’s Academy for Persistence and Completion.
I also enjoy travel, sailing, golf, music, reading and walking with my dog, Kipper along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Wilfredo “Choco” De Jesus served in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago as Lead Pastor of New Life Covenant Church for over 19 years (2000-2019). The church has seen a tremendous amount of growth and influence through the planting of multi-site campuses, effective urban and community outreach, and through world missions.Today, Pastor Choco serves as the General Treasurer of the Assemblies of God. In April 2013, he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and recognized for his leadership and influence within the Evangelical and Latino community.
Pastor Choco is also the author of four books: Amazing Faith, In the Gap, Stay the Course and Move Into More. In December of 2018, he graduated with his doctorate from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He and his wife Elizabeth have three adult children and five pretty amazing grandchildren.
Laura Gutiérrez currently serves as the Executive Director at the United Community Center in Milwaukee, WI. The United Community Center is a large non-profit on the south side of Milwaukee serving clients ages 6 weeks to 100+ years old in programs from Early Childhood Education to elderly day care. The UCC also oversees one the largest K-8 schools in the state, the Bruce-Guadalupe Community School. Laura returns to the center after many years here previously in a variety of roles including Assistant Principal and Director of Instruction at Bruce Guadalupe Community School, as well as classroom teacher and a Drug Prevention Outreach worker when she was just a teen at UCC’s New Beginnings Clinic.
Just prior to returning to UCC, Laura was appointed in February 2017 to the position Secretary of the Department of Safety and Professional Services for the state of Wisconsin. In this position she led a staff of more than 250, and managed a biennial budget of $100M.
She grew up in Milwaukee and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Carroll College and a Master of Arts in Leadership and Policy from Marquette University. She also completed the District Administrator Licensure Program at Cardinal Stritch University and received her Superintendent license in 2016.
Before working for the State of Wisconsin, Laura most recently served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at St. Anthony School in Milwaukee. Previously, Laura served as an elementary and middle school instructor in various capacities and also worked as a clinical and microbiology laboratory assistant at Waukesha Memorial Hospital.
She resides in Wind Lake with her husband George, and together, they have four children.
Ricardo recently retired in May of 2020 as Executive Director for the United Community Center, a comprehensive social service agency serving Milwaukee area Latinos, Ricardo has more than 35 years of non-profit management experience. Throughout his career he has demonstrated his commitment to education as well as neighborhood and economic development, providing leadership and technical assistance to Milwaukee area agencies. Mr. Diaz previously served as Milwaukee Commissioner of City Development and the Executive Director of the Milwaukee Housing Authority.
He has become known as a leading quality education advocate in Milwaukee. Mr. Diaz shares with many his firm belief that education is the path out of poverty and critical to the growth of our city. He is also board member with the Green Bay Packers.
Mr. Diaz lives in the City of Milwaukee with his wife and has one adult daughter who lives with her husband and their daughter in Milwaukee.
Elizabeth “Liz” Huntley is an accomplished litigation attorney, and dedicated child advocate, author and lecturer. She practices law at Lightfoot, Franklin & White, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the recipient of many professional honors and awards, including membership in The National Black Lawyers–Top 100 organization and selected by Super Lawyers as a 2019 Mid-South Super Lawyer.
Liz is the President and Co-Founder of the Hope Institute which is an organization in Alabama that helps schools build a culture of character for their students. Liz is a leader in the movement to expand access to high quality Pre-K to all four year olds in Alabama and has received several state and national awards for her work for children. She was recently named a 2020 Momentum Top 5 “Women of Impact” in Alabama. Liz is also a Birmingham Law Foundation Fellow and an Alabama Law Foundation Fellow.
Liz serves on multiple civic boards, commisions and tasks forces throughout Alabama and regularly speaks to groups throughout the country, often referencing her own journey as described in her published memoir titled More Than A Bird. She serves her local community as a board member for the Chilton Coutny Industrial Development Authority and the Chilton County Children’s Policy Council.
Liz earned her law degree from the University Of Alabama School Of Law where she now serves on the Law School Foundation Board of Governors. She received her undergraduate degree from Auburn University, where she is now a member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees.
Liz and her husband Tony live in Clanton, Alabama with their three children.
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