Juan Álvarez knows the value of education and is able to demonstrate his passion for education and teaching daily to the 7th and 8th graders he currently teaches at Sycamore Junior High School. Prior to his current employment, he was teaching high school age students at Gilbert High School, encouraging them and inspiring them to overcome credit deficits in order to achieve their academic goals. Mr. Álvarez began his teaching career at another Anaheim school, South Junior High School in 2005, where he built the foundation for his career; a career built on the principles of hard work, dedication, compassion, and empathy.
Mr. Álvarez attributes his understanding of the value of hard work to his parents, who both immigrated from Michoacán, Mexico in the late 1970’s. His father, a custodial worker and his mother, a housekeeper, always demonstrated the value of hard work, dependability, and drive to Mr. Álvarez and his four siblings. Through their determination and persistence, his parents were able to purchase a home during a time when not too many Latino immigrants were able to do so. From a young age, Mr. Álvarez learned about their struggle and would often accompany his father to his weekend jobs where he learned the transferable employment skills that serve him to this day: planning, communication, responsibility, trustworthiness, dependability, and initiative. Mr. Álvarez’s parents always supported his goals of pursuing higher education. In fact, both of his parents were a constant presence at football games and the various school events during which Mr. Álvarez received accolades for both academic and sports related achievements. Both his parents often looked on in awe and maybe a little bit of bewilderment as Mr. Álvarez zoomed in and out of the house to attend numerous activities as an active member of ASB. Through it all, however, Mr. Álvarez never doubted their unwavering support.
Mr. Álvarez pursued his dreams of higher education at California State University, Fullerton. Once accepted, he became the first in his family to attend college and obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Proving his commitment to education, Mr. Álvarez followed his Bachelor’s degree with a Master’s degree obtained at California State University, Long Beach. Mr. Álvarez was the first person in his family, immediate and extended, to have two degrees. He never lost sight of his roots as a 1st generation Mexican-American. This motivated him to continue his education and obtain a Bilingual Authorization in Spanish on his teaching credential. He often recalls the struggle that his parents went through to ensure that he and his siblings were able to obtain an education and prove that Latino immigrants were capable of much more than they are given credit for. Mr. Álvarez is now paying forward the lessons his parents taught him with his two sons, one of whom is currently enrolled in a Dual Language Immersion program through the Anaheim Elementary School District. Last summer, during a cross-country road trip through Mexico, he was able to expose them to the roots of their culture. Mr. Álvarez strives to teach his children to appreciate and love the values of all of their cultures.
Mr. Álvarez is also active in community organizing. He is a founding member of SOMOS Anaheim, a community based organization that received a distinction from the OC Human Relations for their part in restoring peace and uniting the community after civil unrest in 2012. Additionally, Mr. Álvarez and SOMOS, in collaboration with the City of Anaheim, created and implemented the city’s first Day of the Dead festival, “Día de los Muertos: A night of Community and Culture". Mr. Álvarez was recently appointed to the City of Anaheim’s Cultural & Heritage Commission.
His passion for education and literacy led Mr. Álvarez to found a nonprofit organization, Operation L.E.E. (Literacy Engaging Everyone). With the help of community members and local students, Mr. Álvarez led an effort to create book stations, found citywide, wherein residents can take and/or leave books, increasing access to literature in neighborhoods with few educational resources. Mr. Álvarez can often be seen walking around the various neighborhoods, his red wagon trailing behind him as he distributes free books and informs neighbors of the book stations.
Mr. Álvarez’s understanding, compassion, and unwavering efforts to advocate for education in his community make him the ideal candidate for a position on the Anaheim Elementary School District’s school board. As a child of immigrants, he is aware of the experiences of many of the district’s families and their efforts to ensure that their children receive the best education possible. As a parent, Mr. Álvarez has entrusted his sons’ education to an Anaheim Elementary School District school, often collaborating with teachers and administration to ensure that the school is meeting the needs of all of its students. If elected to the school board, Mr. Álvarez will rely on his values in carrying out the duties of his position and ensuring that the mission of the school district is being promoted amongst schools, families, and students.