New York Appleseed is proud to announce the arrival of Matt Gonzales, our new School Diversity Project Director. Matt brings over ten years of experience as an educator and an advocate. He is a recent graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University with a Master of Arts in Education Policy. He has written and studied extensively on racial and socioeconomic integration, and other issues related to educational equity. Most recently, he worked on a team of researchers from Columbia to conduct a landmark study on diverse charter schools across the country.
Beyond his academic work, Matt brought his thirst for change to the campus of Teachers College, co-founding a student advocacy organization Students for Quality Education, committed to engaging students, faculty, and administrators in working to increase diversity and support at elite higher education institutions. His work led him to be honored and asked to speak at the First Generation Diversity Graduation Ceremony, and to represent the Education Policy and Social Analysis department as the banner bearer at graduation. He and a group of student colleagues were recently invited to present their work at the 2016 Annual Diversity Challenge Conference at Boston College.
Prior to moving to New York, Matt worked as a special education middle school teacher at Bancroft Middle School in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Outside of the classroom, he volunteered as an advisor for a program called Youth and Government, California’s premier youth leadership program which brings together over 2000 high school students from across the state to learn the values and mechanisms of democracy. He has also spent one week of his summers for the past 12 years as a volunteer YMCA summer camp director.
Matt completed his Bachelor of Arts in Urban Education and his Education Specialist Teaching Credential at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). He graduated Magna Cum Laude and was recognized with Division Honors for his leadership in the College of Education. He was also elected the Legislative Affairs Representative-at-Large for CSULA, worked as the Chief Lobbyist for his campus, sat on the Board of the California State Students Association (CSSA), worked closely with Governor Jerry Brown’s office to support the passage of critical ballot propositions, and organized one of the largest voter registration events in Southern California.
Matt is excited about joining New York Appleseed, where he will bring his vast set of skills and experiences to support the mission of New York Appleseed to advocate for wide-scale school integration, equity of access, and fair allocation of resources.