Icela Pelayo

Board Member

Program Officer W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Battle Creek, MI

Icela Pelayo is a Program Officer in the Office of the President at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) working on the foundation’s efforts on racial equity and community engagement to support thriving children, working families and equitable communities. She serves as a strategic partner to community leaders of multi-sector, community collaborations implementing Truth, Racial Healing Transformation (TRHT) efforts and leads the strategy and coordination for WKKF’s National Day of Racial Healing.

Previously, Icela served in various roles at the New Mexico Public Education Department, including Acting Deputy Cabinet Secretary of Teaching and Learning. She also served as Director of Bilingual Education and federal Title III (English Learner) Programs where she led the program development, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive state policy to support bilingual and multicultural education and emerging bilingual students. When New Mexico became the 5th state in the US to adopt a State Seal of Bilingualism-Biliteracy, she convened a statewide stakeholder task force, authored state regulation and policy guidance, and led statewide implementation. Since 2015, 3,300+ students have earned the state seal in 20+ languages.

Icela serves as Secretary on the Board of Family Engagement Lab. She was recently a Fellow in Hispanics in Philanthropy Líderes program and previously a Pahara Institute NextGen Fellow. Icela earned her PhD from the University of Southern California in K-12 Urban Education Policy, focusing on the intersection of policy, teaching, and learning of emerging multilingual students. Her doctoral research centered on culturally responsive evaluation of bilingual education programs and led an evaluation team to study culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy for educators working in multicultural school settings. She earned an MA in elementary education at Loyola Marymount University while working as a public school teacher in South Los Angeles. Icela earned a BA in political economy and Spanish literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a first-generation college student and daughter of Mexican immigrants.