Helen “Elena” Gonzales is a Chicana/Mexicana community member and educator who advocates for educational equity and access for all children, youth, and adults: ensuring the highest quality of learning within institutions of education and community-based organizations. As a retired educator, counselor, and administrator with over 35 years of experience in pre-K-12 education, university level and expanded learning opportunity programs she has worked within urban and rural school districts with diverse communities.
Ms. Gonzales professional career has included experiences as Outreach Coordinator, CSU Fresno/UCSF Medical School Health Career Opportunity Program, Volunteer Coordinator, Part Time Faculty, CSU Sacramento, Counseling Department. Principal/Vice Principal Administrator in Elementary /Middle Schools, Elk Grove Unified School District, Sacramento, CA. Most recently she served as the California Statewide Region 9 Coordinator for Expanded Learning Programs representing over six hundred schools in San Diego, Orange, and Imperial Counties for the San Diego County Office of Education.
Originally from Stockton, California as the daughter of Salvador and Carmen Gonzales, her parents instilled the values of family and community, love, respect, cultural traditions, and the importance of education. These values and beliefs have impacted her efforts in both personal and professional paths. Ms. Gonzales has presented classes on her personal interest in cultural art, history, literature and provided trainings on the topics of Educational Leadership/Cultural Diversity, Counseling Latinos and Families and Supporting English Language Learners.
She has served on local and statewide educational committees and community board memberships. She is currently a Board Member of the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, San Diego, CA., and former board member of the La Raza Galleria Posada, Sacramento, CA, and Sacramento City College PUENTE Mentor Project.
Ms. Gonzales’ Education Degrees and Credentials include a Master’s Degree, Educational Counseling, Community College Counseling and Clear Administrative Credential K-12.