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Devoted Champion of Youth Empowerment

LaToya Fernandez was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut LaToya became a resident in San Jose California in 2009 and began her pursuit of community empowerment through her employment at the YMCA Silicon Valley. Upon her involvement with YMCA LaToya started her career with Rocketship Education initially serving two campuses. Throughout her five-year career at Rocketship LaToya served as an individualized learning specialist and a top performing English Language Arts Teacher with a record breaking 2.2 years of reading growth for primarily English Language learning students thus closing the opportunity gap in her classroom.

LaToya operates as a solutions-oriented leader and because of her observations of certain community deficits LaToya designed and implemented a social justice based common core aligned curriculum for students in grades k-5, this curriculum-built awareness and called upon students to advocate for equity and justice in their neighborhoods. LaToya has served local San Jose schools as a Restorative Justice Coordinator supporting students, educators and families with cultural responsiveness, competency and community building. LaToya spent 13 years in California as a Restorative Practices change agent and community activist. She completed her journey and returned to her home state of Connecticut in 2021. Upon her return home she became the Restorative Justice coordinator within the state of Connecticut providing trainings in juvenile detention facilities and DCF group homes to staff and youth. LaToya became the Inaugural Diversity Equity Inclusion Officer for the City of Norwalk and currently serves on the Board of Education in her hometown of West Hartford. LaToya is a Restorative Justice Trainer and Facilitator and is the founder of Beyond Circles; Restorative Practices consulting space. 

Training / Development 
  • Breathe For Change- Social emotional learning/mindfulness and yoga

  • Gilder Lehrman Institute- History of The Supreme Court ( Law and policy)

  • Teachers 4 Social Justice - ( Social Justice) 

  • Justice and Peace Center -  Concepts of peace and Equity

  • Seeds - Restorative Justice  Facilitator Training

  • Museum of Tolerance Educator training programs - Common Core aligned

  • Nonviolent Communication Training

  • - computer science, computer coding

  •  Nationally accredited Integrative Health Coach

  • WorldWideWomen

  • San Jose Inside

  • Edsurge

  • LaToya Fernandez. Resilience and Empowerment | by Content Magazine | Content Magazine | Medium

  • innocence. | Spotlight: L.A. Times Short Docs | Indy Shorts Film Festival (

  • Reporter's Notebook: Youth crime and the voices and data not being heard in the debate | Connecticut Public (

  • Gene Young - Presented by The African American American Community Service Agency

  • 2014-2015 - Rocketship Education Awarded Top performing teacher ( highest academic growth- 2.2 years in English language Arts)

  • 2015-2016 - Rocketship Education Awarded Top performing teacher  ( 1.6 years of growth English Language Arts)

  • 2016 - Kaiser Permanente and City of San Jose awarded first place for creating empowering youth media content

  • 2017 - City Of San Jose Presented Outstanding Leadership Award

  • 2018 - Commendation City Of San Jose Mayor and City Councilmembers for empowering school aged girls of color through Queenhype

  • 2019 - Resolution during Black History Month Recognized as Leader in Education by State Assemblymember Ash Kalra

  • 2019 - Commendation City Of San Jose Mayor and City Councilmembers for designing a social justice curriculum that empowered students and closed the opportunity gap

  • 2019 - Laverne Owens Community Service Award presented by The Santa Clara County Alliance of Black Educators

  • 2019 - Resolution presented by Assemblymember Ash Kalra for bringing awareness to the importance of providing STEAM opportunities for students of color.

  • 2020- June 19th Proclaimed Youthhype Day - By county Board of Supervisors for leadership in taking a stand to end the juvenile justice system and school to prison pipeline

  • 2021- Community Hero Awarded by the Santa Clara County Commission on The Status of Women

  • 2021- Silicon Valley’s Most Influential Woman- Silicon Valley Business Journal

  • 2023 Fairfield Connecticut County's Top 40 under 40

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