August 22, 2012

Family Voices Welcomes New Executive Director Lynn Pedraza


Family Voices Welcomes New Executive Director Lynn Pedraza Family Voices Welcomes New Executive Director Lynn Pedraza

Photos show Lynn Pedraza, and with eight of her eleven grandkids.

Albuquerque, New Mexico, August 20, 2012

Family Voices is pleased to announce Lynn Pedraza, Ph.D. of Albuquerque as the organization’s new Executive Director, beginning the week of August 20. As Lynn joins the staff, the Family Voices Board would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Sophie Arao-Nguyen for her dedicated work with Family Voices over the last five and a half years, including as interim Executive Director from July 1 to the present following her notice of resignation.

 

Lynn has been an advocate for families and children all of her life. Her professional career began in  1974, when at age 20 she became the special education teacher for a classroom of middle school students, some just a few years younger than herself. Since then, her background working with families, children, education, and health has grown continuously to become quite diverse and impressive. From 2002 – 2012 she served as Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) Director of Health and Wellness. As part of her work with the department she brought competing interests into alignment, created and solidified relationships with internal and external stakeholders and partners to support the needs of children, youth, and families, and increased on-site access to mental health services for students. During her tenure, APS Health and Wellness was awarded over 21 million dollars in funding, most notably the Safe Schools/Healthy Students grant of 9 million dollars.

 

Also in 2012, Lynn co-authored the charter for a new Albuquerque Public School with a focus on health and wellness.

 

Prior positions include work as: a Research Assistant at the Florida Mental Health Institute located at the University of South Florida; a Program Support Specialist (district administrator) at the Albuquerque Public Schools; Special Education Teacher; Vocational Instructor; Child Care Program Director; and Mental Health Group Leader. In 2000 she presented as one of the Surgeon General’s guest speakers at the Surgeon General’s Conference on Children’s Mental Health. She has given twenty-two presentations at conferences in New Mexico and nationally, and has published several articles, policy papers, and curriculum resources. She is the recipient of the New Mexico NAMI Award for Family Support, was the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) ‘Administrator of the Year for School-based Mental Health’ in 2007, and has received numerous other awards.

 

Lynn says that as a Hispanic, first generation high school graduate, continuing her education has always been a priority. Her Ph. D. from the University of South Florida is in Curriculum & Instruction in Special Education with an emphasis on Child and Family Policy. She is credentialed as an Education Specialist (Ed. S.) from the University of New Mexico with a focus on Educational Administration, and holds a Masters of Education (M. Ed.) from the University of South Florida in Curriculum & Instruction with specialization in Emotionally Disturbed & Learning Disabled Education.

 

Lynn’s personal experience is just as impressive as her professional and educational background, beginning at the tender age of 10, when she assisted with physical therapy for a neighboring child who had cerebral palsy. Beginning when she was 16, she lived on her own while working full time and attending both high school and college. At twenty-two she worked at an early childhood day treatment program and at age twenty-four became a foster parent to a 15-year old girl who was pregnant. By age 43, she was the mother of ten children, including two biological children and eight foster/adopted children with special needs. She has eleven grandchildren. Lynn credits her children and their biological families with teaching her what families face when they work with systems such as education, juvenile justice, mental health, social services, and hospitals. Through supporting and sharing with her family, Lynn learned how important it is for all these systems to work well together.

 

Lynn is down-to-earth, direct, warm, and a go-getter who hits the ground running and builds teams to honor everyone and get the job done. Please join Family Voices in welcoming Lynn.  


For more information please contact:
Melanie Rubin, Director of Communications, Family Voices, 505-872-4777,
mrubin@familyvoices.org