The SBEZ Team
South Bend Empowerment Zone Team
Dr. Cheryl Camacho, Zone Chief
Bio: Cheryl Camacho’s experiences as a student, mother and educator have deepened her belief that schools and school systems need to make hard pivots toward educating for liberation. Her experiences include being a national board certified master teacher with seven years of experience teaching first and second grade in high poverty schools, an award-winning elementary principal, an experienced facilitator of conversations about race and education, and most recently, a designer and facilitator of professional learning communities/coach for senior leaders at an educational non-profit. In addition, she led the transformation of three elementary schools into non-selective magnet programs, one of which received national attention as one of the nation’s first STEM elementary programs. As she reflects on lessons learned over the past fourteen years and begins to envision what is needed to actualize the pivots described above, courageous leadership and authentic coalition-building feels essential.
She earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001, her Masters of Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. Most recently she earned her Doctor of Education Leadership from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in May of 2019.
Director of Systems & School Supports
Bio: The proud son of an immigrant factory worker, Isaias understands and was taught the value of a high-quality education. He knows, first-hand, that graduating from high school and earning a college degree unlocks opportunity that can change the generational course for students and their families. Isaias graduated from Michigan State University, James Madison College in 2005 with a degree in Social Relations & Policy and a specialization in Chicano/Latino Studies. Upon graduation, he completed 3 years of national service with Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas where he taught middle and high school Social Studies. He was bestowed the Secondary Teacher of the Year and District Teacher of the Year awards in 2007 for his role in leading the Sauceda Middle School Social Studies Department in improving their Social Studies state standardized test scores from 42% in 2005 to 94% in 2007 which removed the school from state probationary status.
Upon graduating from the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor with a Master of Social Work degree in 2009, Isaias returned to the public sector holding senior management leadership positions as Director of Programs with the Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA) in Chicago, Illinois, Director of District and School Partnerships with Teach For America in McAllen, Texas, and Neighborhood & Agency Coordination Department Director, Federal Healthy Start Program Supervisor, and Community Health Center Supervisor with the Ingham County Health Department in Lansing, Michigan. In 2014, Isaias received the Master Social Worker of the Year award from the Organization for Latino/a Social Workers (OLASW) of Michigan for demonstrating outstanding leadership in advocacy and social work practice.
South Bend Empowerment Zone Board
South Bend Empowerment Zone members live in our communities and bring a broad range of experience and expertise to the board
Sam Centellas, Board Chair
Executive Director, La Casa de Amistad
Executive Director, Downtown South Bend
President/CEO, South Bend Chamber of Commerce
Superintendent, South Bend Community Schools Corporation
Board Chair, South Bend Community Schools Corporation
Board Member, South Bend Community Schools Corporation
South Bend Heritage Found., Accounting & Program Specialist
Director of Youth Empowerment, Transformation Ministries
Partner and Managing Partner, RSM US, LLP