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Cristina Pacione-Zayas

Education Director

Cristina Pacione-Zayas oversees the Latino Policy Forum's Education Department.  With a focus on birth to third grade issues, the Forum’s education agenda advocates for all Latino and immigrant children to have access to high quality care and education services that are linguistically and culturally responsive in an effort to close the achievement gap.   She manages a team of five who lead efforts in three areas: family and community engagement and capacity building; equitable access and resource distribution; and pre- and in- service educator preparation. 

Cristina came to the Latino Policy Forum in 2012 with over a decade of experience implementing high-quality student-centered academic supports and initiatives to promote healthy and positive youth development.  While working as the Culture of Calm Coordinator for Chicago Public High School, Roberto Clemente Community Academy, Cristina cultivated a 29 percent reduction in serious disciplinary infractions in the two years of her tenure.  As the Community Schools Director at Enlace Chicago, Cristina managed a network of eight community schools in Little Village, representing more than 1,500 youth and 650 adults.  Cristina convened over 50 partners to provide programming in academic intervention, arts and cultural enrichment, sports, summer youth employment, post-secondary and career exploration, health and wellness, as well as adult education and family leadership development.

Cristina is the Co-chair of the Puerto Rican Agenda, an unincorporated coalition of Chicago-based Puerto Rican leaders who form a monthly roundtable to discuss opportunities for collaboration and organizing around issues and initiatives that affect Puerto Ricans.  She also serves on the board of directors for the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.

Cristina earned a doctorate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Educational Policy Studies. She also holds an Ed.M. in Educational Policy Studies and dual BA degrees in Sociology and Spanish, also from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Contact Cristina via email or phone at (312) 376-1766 x221.