Marginalized College Students Get a Boost from New Leader

Twin passions for Russell Castañeda Calleros Ed.D. ’18 have converged in his current position

Russell Castañeda Calleros, Ed.D. ’18 is the Director of Government and Community Relations at Rio Hondo College, where he has devoted his time to serving marginalized student populations. Since graduating from the Ed.D. Program, Russell has taken his passion for educational leadership for social justice in a new direction by pursuing his dream of entering the professoriate. In addition to his leadership and teaching roles in higher education, Russell is also a long-time board member for the Whittier Union High School District.

Russell’s dissertation, The Intersection of Ethnic Studies and Public Policy: A Study of California High School Board Members’ Perspectives, chaired by internationally renowned Freirian scholar Dr. Antonia Darder, identified the perspectives of California high school board members toward Ethnic Studies curricula and the extent to which these perspectives informed public policy.

Since his dissertation was published, Russell was selected to be a “table talk presenter” to discuss his research findings at the California School Boards Association (CSBA) 2018 Annual Education Conference, and was also invited to co-author a policy brief with CSBA which summarized the findings of his research.

In May 2020, Russell learned that the policy recommendations from his policy brief were used by a trustee in the Oak Grove School District to advocate for Ethnic Studies curriculum in the Oak Grove School District in San Jose.

In August, Russell was selected by the California School Boards Association to be a co-presenter of a virtual workshop titled “Leading Change in Times of Crisis” at the CSBA’s upcoming 2020 Annual Education Conference. Recently, Russell’s work on a community college transportation equity project was featured on the website of the Kresge Foundation: