By Mike Greife, June 3, 2016
WARRENSBURG, MO - Luis Córdoba, a member of the Superintendent’s senior cabinet as the Executive Director of Student Intervention Programs for the Kansas City Public Schools, will bring his powerful message of the importance of helping people of all ages overcome prejudices and stereotypes as the keynote speaker for the UCM Learning Day June 15.
He will teach how to break the mindset of self defeat and the cycle of self destruction in order to achieve success at the noon luncheon in the UCM Student Recreation and Wellness Center. All UCM faculty and staff are encouraged to register to attend the professional development program, designed to provide an opportunity to further the campus community's dedication to providing an inclusive environment with engaged-learning opportunities focused on student success.
Abandoned by his father, Córdoba’s life journey began as a baby in his mother’s arms as she crossed the border from Mexico into southern California. He was raised in poverty among some of the toughest gangs in East Los Angeles. His early life was filled with rejection by both cultures. He remembers teachers who filled his mouth with soap to stop him from speaking Spanish. His own people teased him, telling him to lighten his skin with flour. He grew up feeling that he did not belong. This inner struggle with his identity led him to try to wash the “Mexican” out of him.
Córdoba’s mission, as the personality of “The Educated Pachuco™”, is to help people of all ages overcome prejudices and stereotypes. He teaches how to break the mindset of self defeat and the cycle of self destruction in order to achieve success. Through his dramatic presentation, the Pachuco shares his story of perseverance and, by his example, shows how education is his salvation in life.
Córdoba earned a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also has a Master of Science in Elementary and Secondary Education with an emphasis in multicultural urban setting from Kansas State University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Substance Abuse Counseling from Ottawa University.
He heads several initiatives modeled targeted to improve the graduation rate in the Kansas City Public Schools. These initiatives include working with the City Council of Kansas City, Mo., and the assistant city prosecutor in implementing a city truancy ordinance. He also collaborated with the Jackson County Family Court to create “Success Court,” a program to reduce truancy and school dropout. He also works with local agencies to secure health-related grants to provide student behavioral and mental health support as a way to improve student learning. All of these initiatives were completed at no cost to the school district.
Córdoba is an internationally certified and state-licensed substance abuse counselor with more than 27 years of experience using bilingual and bicultural skills with Latino youth and their families. He is a former member of the U. S. Attorney, Western District of Missouri, Gang Assessment Task Force and volunteers his time teaching race relations at cadet classes for the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. He is the personality of “The Educated Pachuco,” an advice column published in the Kansas City Hispanic News. The column is targeted to the concerns of teenagers and their families. As a result of his wide-ranging experiences, Córdoba has been an invited speaker in over 300 national presentations.
Cordoba is a former member of the Missouri Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs. He served as an adjunct professor of multicultural studies at UCM and as a national consultant on the Safe Schools Healthy Student Initiative, managing 10 major public schools in a 10-state region area. He has served with a variety of national organizations, including as the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center, Boston, Mass.; State Justice Institute-U.S. Office of Juvenile Programs; and the Juvenile Drug Court Focus Group, American University, Washington, D.C. He also has served as a consultant for the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention, Washington, D.C.