The Utah State Board of Education created the Advisory Committee on Equity of Educational Services for Students by resolution in January 2016. ACEESS meets monthly before each regularly-scheduled meeting of the Board.
ACEESS is a 15-member committee established to advise the State Board regarding its efforts to support equity of educational services for students.
Two representatives each of the following communities:
• American Indian;
• African American/Black;
• Asian American;
• Hispanic/Latino American;
• Pacific Islander American; and
Five members with expertise or experience serving students who are at risk for under achievement.
Rozanna Benally-Sagg, a program specialist for the Utah Office of Multicultural Affairs, comes from a lineage of Diné (Navajo) culture, language, and teachings. Her parents and grandparents instilled in her the value and importance of education that has remained strong throughout her life. She provided speech-language therapy services for 10 years to school-age children in public schools and private companies. She has also provided early childhood education, adult literacy education, parenting education, and structured literacy interaction between parents and their children as a program director for a family literacy program. She continues to be a proponent of encouraging literacy education by providing culturally relevant books to Native American children through local family literacy events.
Rob Myers is originally from Miami, Florida. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Public & Cultural Communication. He enjoys working in higher education and playing an integral role in getting new students enrolled and acclimated with Westminster College. Mr. Myers spends his free time with his wife, Tasha, and their beautiful children, Jax and Taj. He travels cross-country setting new dance works on studios and performance teams and had the opportunity to be a featured dancer in Super Bowl XXXIII’s pre-game and halftime festivities. Mr. Myers is still fairly new to Salt Lake; his favorite places to eat are Spitz, Mazza, and Fuji. He also loves spending time at the Eccles Theater taking in a show.
Mr. Myers is finishing up his first year the Masters of Community Leadership program at Westminster College and is excited to share his expertise with ACEESS. He also advises the Black Student Union to ensure that the Westminster College experience is a safe and equitable experience for all students. BSU provides quality programming and workshops to ensure that students of color, in particular, students of the African diaspora, see themselves affirmed and engaged in campus life and culture at Westminster.
Ram Jayakumar has a master’s degree from New York University, majoring in Management of Technology. He has worked in the information technology industry in various roles around the world for over 20 years.
Ram & his wife, Deepa, are the parents of two sons and reside in Sandy. After having lived in the northeastern U.S. for over 10 years, they have made Utah their home for the past seven years. Ram has volunteered as a PTA member in his sons’ schools and served in roles including Emerging Minorities Leader, Legislative Vice President, and President. He also served for a year as the Diversity & Inclusion Specialist on the Utah State PTA Board of Directors, and is currently serving on a local High School Community Council.
Jennifer Mayer-Glenn is currently the Director of Family-School Collaboration at the Salt Lake City School District working to build the capacity of schools to create welcoming and family friendly schools that utilize the talents and skills of their families and to build the capacity of families to support student learning and be advocates and leaders in their schools. When Ms. Mayer-Glenn isn’t working toward social justice in a school setting, she is doing community advocacy work as the former President of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, the oldest Latino civil rights advocacy organization in Utah.
Ms. Mayer-Glenn earned a fellowship with the National Institute of Latino School Leaders from 2013-2015. She wrote a policy memo on school accountability and met with congressional staffers to inform them of the needs of English learners and Latino students prior to and during the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. She was invited to participate in the Harvard Business School Young American Leaders Program in 2016. She also served as the Chair of the Salt Lake City Human Rights Commission during which time the commission won awards from Equality Utah and the ACLU of Utah. Ms. Mayer-Glenn earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from the University of Utah and a Master of Education from Westminster College.
Joél-Léhi Organista serves as the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) State Deputy Director in Utah. He serves as the National Director of Empowering Multiculturalism and Diversity with Omega Delta Phi, Fraternity Inc. Additionally, he has served for more than eight years on the national advisory board of the Education for Liberation Network. When he was 15 years old, he produced a film documentary titled “Red Flags: Racism & Ethnic Stereotyping in Utah Schools,” which is used in university courses across the state and nation.
Joél-Léhi is a part-time high school health teacher in Salt Lake City. He also runs the 501c3 nonprofit he co-founded called, Casa Quetzalcoatl. He created his own major, titled Social Justice Pedagogy, along with getting his certificate in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Utah. Joél-Léhi is originally from La Ciudad de México Chapultepec. He’s a polyglot who speaks Spanish, English, Japanese, Portuguese, and Nahuatl.
Pacific Islander American
A Utah native, Emilie Martinson was raised with one foot in the Salt Lake Valley and the other on the island of Tahiti — her mother’s native home. She was lovingly reared in a multicultural, multilingual extended family and from the beginning embraced the conviction that our coalescence as a community flourishes from both our shared and our native languages. Emilie obtained a bachelor of arts in English and a Master of Education from Westminster College; TEFL/TESOL certified, she combines passion, understanding, and skill as a teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
In her role as a representative of the Pacific Islander community in Utah schools, she focuses her knowledge and enthusiasm on creating and maintaining learning systems that support and nurture heritage languages. Emilie works at Sorenson Multicultural Center in Glendale and lives in Salt Lake City with her partner Steve, step-daughter Sophie, and 12-year old fur-child and Boxer, Sophers.
AFA K. PALU
At-large: expertise or experience serving students who are at risk for under achievement
KAREE D. ATKINSON
Karee Atkinson attended Brigham Young University and received a bachelor of art in political science. She then attended the University of Utah where she received her master’s degree in political science. Karee worked as a lobbyist for the American Federation of Teachers and as a trainer for the Utah State Department of Health, before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom.
Karee is a founding member of Decoding Dyslexia Utah. Decoding Dyslexia Utah is a grassroots movement driven by Utah families concerned with the limited access to educational interventions for dyslexia.
Alexx Goeller is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Utah Refugee Services Office within the Department of Workforce Services. Alexx has worked with youth from multicultural backgrounds for the past five years, both in Senegal, West Africa and in Utah. Alexx’s role at the Utah Refugee Services Office is to build up the skill sets and resources of community partners enabling them to better serve refugee youth. Alexx works with the local refugee communities to help build up their capacity to find appropriate solutions for their unique challenges and ensure that they have access to the programs that they need in order to be successful.
Alexx also serves on several committees, including ACEESS, and advisory boards to ensure that refugee youth are allotted an equitable and accessible education and integration experience in Utah.