Gilberto Arriaza has focused his entire work helping schools and school districts promote human scale, sustainable learning environments. At the core of his work resides the idea that well educated people promote participatory democracy, thus building a more equitable society. For many years he worked as part of the National Coalition of Essential Schools with leaders such as Theodore Sizer and Debbie Meiers. In the year 2000 he joined the faculty of the College of Education at San Jose State University. There he founded, with Martin Krovetz, a school reform center advocating for the design of small schools. Since 2007 he has added to this work the notion that language embodies the potential to be a force for social change. Dismantling deficit discourse may prove the most potent lever to enact social and cultural capital among all students, particularly racialized ones. Education leaders, he has argued, sit at the center of this effort.
Gilberto Arriaza graduated from the College of Education at the University of California at Berkeley with a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies. He is now a Professor of Education Leadership in the College of Education and Allied Studies at California State University—East Bay, where he teaches research methods to masters and doctoral students. He is the author of numerous peer reviewed articles on the topics mentioned above (see: http://www.csueastbay.edu/directory/profiles/edld/arriazagilberto.html); and coauthor with M. Krovetz of Collaborative teacher leadership: how teachers can foster equitable schools (Corwin, 2006) and coauthor with F. Briscoe and R. Henze of The power of talk: how words change our lives (Corwin, 2009).