About the Diversity and Engagement Department

  • Mission Statement

    Diversity and Engagement logo The department of Diversity and Engagement is committed to promoting a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for all students, staff, and community stakeholders within the Olathe Public Schools.

    We strive to do this by:

    • Providing training, resources, and support for diversity and inclusion across the district.
    • Ensuring policies and practices are equitable districtwide.
    • Enlisting the support of the Diversity & Engagement Advisory Council comprised of students, employees, and community stakeholders.
    • Ensuring the recruitment and hiring processes for the district are equitable for candidates from diverse backgrounds at various position levels.
    • Providing open lines of communication for transparency and accountability.

    Our department welcomes your feedback about diversity and engagement throughout the district. Please email us at diversity@olatheschools.org.

Important Definitions

  • Diversity

    All the ways in which individuals are similar and different that impact and influence interactions with one another. Includes but is not limited to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, veteran status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability, genetic information, and learning styles.

    Equity

    The guarantee of fair treatment, access, opportunity, and advancement for all while striving to identify and eliminate barriers that have prevented the full participation of some groups. The principle of equity acknowledges that there are historically under-served and under-represented populations and that fairness regarding these unbalanced conditions is needed to assist equality in the provision of effective opportunities to all groups.

    Inclusion

    Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power and ensures equal access to opportunities and resources.

Executive Director of Diversity and Engagement

Phone: 913-780-7783

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Erik Erazo

Originally from California, Erik Erazo enlisted in the United States Army after earning his diploma. Erazo started at Olathe North High School more than 17 years ago and was inspired to further his education and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education.

Erazo created flagship programs targeting at-risk youth which provides mentorship and encourages students to maintain personal identities while removing negative activities. Currently, these programs boast a 100% graduation rate.

Serving on multiple community boards, Erazo received the 2013 Olathe Human Relations Educator Award, was named the 2017 Olathe Public Schools Emporia State University Master Teacher in 2017 and the 2019 City of Olathe Cathedral Builder Award.

Assistant Director of Diversity and Engagement

Phone: 913-780-7784

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Marquis Harris

Originally from Texas, Marquis Harris is an advocate for educational equity and previously served at the college level while working to bridge the gap on college access and achievement for first-generation and underrepresented student populations. Harris holds a master’s degree in Educational Administration and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Foundations from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. 

Harris serves as the lead trainer for the district, responsible for the development of curriculum in the areas of equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice for the purpose of educating leaders, teachers, students, and support staff. In the past, he has hosted numerous workshops and presentations for local and national organizations such as the American Association of School Personnel Administrators, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity. 

Harris is a proven leader with an affinity for creating effective strategies to dismantle oppressive barriers to help create a better tomorrow for future generations.

Language Management Specialist

Phone: 913-780-7979

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Samanta Landa

Originally from Argentina, Samanta Landa came to the United States in 2001. After receiving her interpreter certification, Landa has been providing translation assistance to Olathe families since 2012.

Landa oversees over 170 freelance and 19 full-time interpreters in the district and annually participates in Mid-America Chapter of the American Translators Association (MICATA). In 2019, Landa completed training in Bridging the Gap in Educational Setting.

Landa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership from MidAmerica Nazarene University and is working on her Master's in School Counseling at Kansas State University.

 

Administrative Assistant

Phone: 913-780-8036

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Liliana Gallegos-Avila

Originally from Mexico, Liliana Gallegos came to the United States in 2007. That same year, she accepted a position with the Olathe School District and was motivated to continue her education. In 2013, Gallegos completed her Supervision Management Certificate and volunteered in her local community through programs like Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) to help the Hispanic community file taxes. In 2016, she completed her associate degree, and two years later, Gallegos earned her Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources from Ottawa University. 

 

Student and Family Support Specialist

Phone:

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Jean Cantero

An alumnus of the Olathe School District, Jean Cantero supports students and families from diverse cultural backgrounds and underserved needs with programming and support across the district. Cantero brings years of experience in providing students with guidance on navigating post-secondary institutions and accessing area resources.

Cantero attended school in Olathe from kindergarten through high school, graduating in 2013 from Olathe South High School. As a first-generation college graduate, Cantero has an understanding of the barriers student face in their academic journey and how to best overcome these challenges. After earning his undergraduate degree, Cantero began working in college admissions to advocate for students striving to continue their education. Additionally, his experience includes advising students on scholarship access and collegiate resources.

Cantero holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a master’s degree in Instructional Design & Technology, both from Emporia State University.