Cynthia Nambo graduated in 1994 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was a student; social justice and cross coalition activist; and a part of key leadership that worked to increase the recruitment of Latino/a students and faculty, improve student and faculty retention, and their academic success; and implement the Latino/a Studies Program. She was also a proponent of women’s rights and cofounded La Fuerza. A student organization that partnered with the YWCA and La Casa Cultural Latina to explore, advocate, and advance Latinas’ role in society. La Fuerza brought authors of Chicana literature Ana Castillo and Gloria Anzaldua to campus and promoted other events to advance Latina womanism.
After graduating UIUC her work has spanned different realms in educational settings: in Chicago Public Schools (CPS), alternative schools, charter schools, universities, and community organizations. She has served as counselor, teacher, university instructor, consultant, coach, and administrator. She has worked through grants and program development with not-for-profit organizations to increase funding and programming for youth of color and Latino communities. Cynthia has worked and presented across the United States, Poland, and Canada.
As a social justice teacher she was featured as a chapter in the book See You When We Get There by Gregory Michie. It is used in teacher preparation programs across the U.S.
One of her marked accomplishments was as Project Director of the Greater Lawndale High School Campus, the first campus in Chicago designed with four small high schools. This campus was born from a community hunger strike. She designed the planning of this campus in collaboration with the the CPS district, community members, youth, community organizations, and other foundations. She became Assistant Principal at one of the high schools, Social Justice High School. Later she successfully coached teachers and designed professional development as an instructional coach at one of CPS networks in charge of twelve CPS Schools. For the last five years she was Principal, at Instituto Justice and Leadership Academies contributing to an 85% graduation rate and increased Math and Reading growth significantly. She lead the staff to develop a social justice educational model that used competencies and praxis to drive learning; and restorative justice that focused on discipline not punishment. Currently she returned to consulting to refine innovative methods with technology she has been developing over the years and dedicate more time to her children’s academic success.
Cynthia Nambo is a Director on the Board of the Latino/Latina Alumni Association of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a Leadership Coach at Network for College Success at The University of Chicago.