Dr. Zujaila Ornelas
Migrant Education Program Director
As the granddaughter of a migratory farmworker and Director of the Arizona Migrant Education Program (MEP), I am committed to ensuring our migratory children and youth reach and attain challenging academic standards that will prepare them for responsible citizenship, further learning, and productive employment. Like a home away from home, the Arizona MEP supports our families by providing resources and services to help overcome factors that inhibit their ability to succeed personally and academically. My purpose is to empower the migratory community to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in, and remember that, ¡Sí Se Puede! The MEP is very personal to me as it is to our staff throughout the state; I am very humbled to be leading this work.
Migrant Education Program Specialist
Joining the Migrant Education Program has brought me full circle. Being a migratory student myself, I also experienced the many challenges our migratory students face today. I also experienced firsthand the wealth of knowledge and resources available to all students within the state. As the Program Specialist, I share the responsibility to ensure that all our migratory students have access to resources and educational services in their schools as well as in their communities. With dedication and hard work of each program staff, parents, and community partners, we will ensure every migratory student reaches their full academic potential. It is an honor to be part of a team who can impact our agricultural community in such a way that our families can feel confident their students will achieve academic success.
Growing up in Chihuahua, Mexico I saw firsthand how the hard work, perseverance, and sacrifices of agricultural and farming communities contributed to the overall well-being of a country. As a product of generations of farmers, I saw many of my peers not finish their secondary education because of issues such as transportation, poverty, and lack of educational resources. It is a privilege to be part of the MEP (Migrant Education Program) Team and be able to work collaboratively with our partner school districts to ensure that our program participants become civically engaged citizens, contribute to the economic development of Arizona and the United States, and have the tools and skillsets necessary to pursue their academic and professional goals.
In my role, I will work with our LEAs to make sure that their grant applications are approved in a timely order so they can provide necessary services. As well as following guiding regulations and policies ensuring that we are good stewards of taxpayer-funded grants.
Bianca Fonseca Cervantes
Identification and Recruitment Coordinator
Migratory children and youth are often the most in need, but also the most difficult to find. I am honored to be part of the MEP familia because everyone understands the unique challenges that migratory families face and does their best to provide them with the resources and services they need to succeed. As the Identification and Recruitment Coordinator, my focus is to work with our recruiters to locate as many migratory families as possible wherever they may find themselves - at schools, in their communities, and out in the fields. I am committed to bringing the best practices to our state in order to identify and serve more and more migratory families across Arizona. Since starting this role, my appreciation and respect towards all agricultural workers has only grown because I have seen firsthand how hard they labor to bring food to our tables. This experience has been especially dear to my heart because I come from a family of farmworkers and fishermen in Mexico. In speaking with them, it is more than evident that they want the best for their family. I feel very fortunate to work alongside so many caring and passionate MEP staff at the state and LEA level who all do their part to bring hope to so many deserving and hard-working migratory families.
Grants and Family Engagement Specialist
I had the honor of working and learning about the migratory community thanks to my work with the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at ASU. The dedication, resiliency, and perseverance I witnessed from my former students provided me great insights on the needs and challenges of our migratory students and families. The Migrant Education Program is more than a program for me. With every student we identify, we learn more about the challenges they face and are always thinking of ways to serve our migratory students so that they are provided with a good quality education. The MEP also means community. As a community we are working together with our LEAs to provide assistance and guidance to meet state and federal guidelines, while at the same time keeping the needs of our students at the forefront of our mission.