2024 Black Education Act Conference

  • June 5–7, 2024
  • Embassy Suites Hotel
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico

The NMPED Black Education Act Bureau is pleased to announce its 3rd Annual Building an EquityBridge Conference.

This year’s theme is “Expanding the Pillars”. This free, three-day conference will explore topics centered around embracing equity, addressing implicit bias, developing transformative strategies to better support students of color, creating an anti-racist anti-oppressive schools, developing school policy to deter discrimination, and more. The first overarching goal is to provide knowledge, skills, and strategies that will help to enhance the quality of relationships with students of color and ultimately improve educational outcomes. The second goal is to provide access to culturally relevant organizations that can help to enhance outcomes for students and their families.

In 2021, the New Mexico state legislature passed House Bill 43 which created a new section of the public-school code entitled the Black Education Act which includes a requirement for all school personnel to successfully complete an anti-racism and racial sensitivity training or professional development approved by PED. This conference will satisfy this requirement for the 2024–2025 school year.

Who should attend? New Mexico educators, administrators, counselors, social workers, school resource officers, and other k-12 and higher education faculty and staff. School and community-based youth program workers (such as BSU sponsors and advisors, before and after school programs) are also encouraged to attend.

What is the cost? None! The conference is fully funded. The conference includes breakfast and lunch all three days. Attendees are responsible for any costs they may incur for transportation and lodging.

Kimberly York

Kimberly York
Liaison, NMPED Black Education Act
Conference Organizer

View Bio

Kimberly currently oversees the Black Education Bureau for the New Mexico Public Education Department. She is a doctoral candidate at Grand Canyon University, completing a Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Organizational Psychology. Her dissertation focuses on perceived organizational support and occupational burnout. She is an Independent Licensed Clinical Social Worker (mental health therapist) with over 25 years of blended experience in organizational leadership, youth development, training facilitation, and racial and social justice. She excels in education and community-based development, strategic planning, and systemic transformation. Her clinical competencies include resiliency-based mental health assessments, treatment planning, and conducting individual and group therapy with children, youth, and families.

As a servant leader, Kimberly has a proven record of commitment to service. She was appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to the New Mexico Racial Justice Council and elected as the Diversity Coordinator of Las Cruces Chapter of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). She previously held additional community leadership roles as the 2nd Vice President of Dona Ana County NAACP (Education Chair) and a member of the Executive Committee of the State of New Mexico Office of African American Affairs. She has provided consulting services to many organizations including Las Cruces Public Schools, United Way of Southwest New Mexico, Ngage New Mexico, La Casa, and more.

Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Capital University. She earned a Masters of Social Administration and a Masters of Nonprofit Organizations (specialization in Nonprofit Management) from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Additionally, Kimberly is an alum of the Treu – Mart Resiliency and Youth Development Fellowship at CWRU’s Mandel Center for Non-Profit Organizations. Her international experience includes organizational and youth development in Bangladesh and the Netherlands. Kimberly holds Independent Clinical Social Work license (with Supervision designation), Non-Profit Management Certification, Advanced Mediation Certification, and No Bullies, No Victims trainer. She is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner, National trainer of Nurturing Parenting, and Circle of Security. She is most proud to be a National Resiliency Trainer and has completed National Character Education Training by the Josephson Institute on Ethics. She is a member of the Phi Alpha National Social Work Honor Society and the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society for Adult Learners.

In May 2023 Kimberly was inducted into the Alpha Chi National Honor Society which recognizes top scholars for their academic achievements.

Dr. Arsenio Romero

Dr. Arsenio Romero
New Mexico Secretary of Education

View Bio

Dr. Arsenio Romero, a native New Mexican and son of an educator, has spent the last quarter-century serving New Mexico communities as a school and district leader. Prior to his appointment as Public Education Department Secretary, Dr. Romero served as superintendent of Los Lunas Schools and superintendent and CEO of Deming Public Schools. Dr. Romero also oversaw district curriculum as assistant superintendent for instruction and transformation for the Roswell Independent School District. Since 2013, he has been a lead performance coach/executive coach for PED. He started his career in education as an elementary school teacher and principal for Las Cruces Public Schools. In addition, the secretary has taught at New Mexico State University since 2014 and joined the NMSU Board of Regents in 2020. Dr. Romero’s greatest source of pride is his family. He and his wife Amber, an educator, are the proud parents of four children.

Dr. Nicole Evans

Dr. Candace Castillo
Deputy Secretary of Identity, Equity, and Transformation for the New Mexico Public Education Department

View Bio

Dr. Candice Castillo currently serves as the deputy secretary of Identity, Equity, and Transformation for the New Mexico Public Education Department, where her work focuses on leading the necessary support education agencies across the state need to provide students to reach their maximum potential by removing barriers and creating opportunities to enhance their educational, social, personal, and post K-12 growth. She has statewide oversight of federal funding programs; safe and healthy schools; language and culture; the Black and Hispanic Education Acts; and student, school, and family support.

Prior to her current position, she was the executive officer of Student Support Services in the Houston Independent School District, the eighth largest district in the country, where she was responsible for districtwide oversight and strategic leadership of student support services, including Wraparound Services, Afterschool, Counseling and Socio-Emotional Learning, Student Assistance, Health and Medical Services, and Athletics and UIL programming. In addition, she led the district’s COVID-19 response, which received accolades from the U.S. Secretary of Education. During her last year with Houston ISD, she launched their telehealth services initiative in 77 schools to address students’ physical and mental health needs. Before joining Houston ISD, Dr. Castillo spent nearly two decades in the corporate world, where she worked in various industries and roles, including corporate communications for a leading global financial institution. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree in global management, and a doctorate in education in ethical leadership degree.

Black Education Act Advisory Council Members

  • Johnna Rocker-Clinton – Chair
  • Dr. Stephanie Mack – Vice Chair
  • Sandra Aaron – Secretary
  • Moses Allen
  • Hakim Bellamy
  • Romulous Charles
  • Andrea Determan
  • Adam Dodge
  • Dr. Pamela Gray
  • Crystal Hick
  • Vickie Horne
  • Dr. Nancy Lopez
  • Dr. Monique Matute-Chavarria
  • Chrishawna Nickols
  • Dr. Treyphenia Peele-Eady
  • Cecil Rose
  • Brandi Stone
  • Dr. Patricia Trujillo
  • Mercedes Turner
  • Dr. Cynthia Wise