Biographies of Keynote and Plenary Speakers


Mary Nicely, Chief Deputy Superintendent, California Department of Education

Mary Nicely

Mary Nicely  is Chief Deputy Superintendent of the California Department of Education (CDE). Nicely previously served as Deputy Superintendent for the Information and Technology Branch and Senior Advisor to Thurmond, where she led the Superintendent’s Initiatives Office and focused on recruitment and retention of teachers of color, community schools, and educator housing and public/private partnerships with philanthropy and industry. Before joining the CDE, Nicely served as Chief of Staff and District Director to then-Assembly Member Thurmond, representing California’s 15th Assembly District. Prior to her legislative career, she was President and CEO of Nicely Done Solutions, Inc. a custom database development company headquartered in Berkeley, California founded in 1994. She also served as the Western US K–12 Service and Support Manager for seven of her 13 years at Apple. Nicely is a first generation Burmese American and holds a bachelor’s degree in political economy of industrial societies from the University of California, Berkeley, and a business administration degree from Monterey Peninsula Community College in Monterey.



Dr. Alfonso Jiménez, Superintendent, Hacienda La Puente USD

Dr. Alfonso Jiménez

 Dr. Alfonso Jiménez has served as Superintendent of the Hacienda La Puente USD since July 2020. The District serves 16,172 TK-12 and 12,000 adult education learners. Dr. Jiménez has 26 years of experience with 19 years in administration serving as assistant principal, principal, director, assistant superintendent, deputy superintendent, and now superintendent. Through his leadership, various programs continue to thrive such as C-STEM, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL), visual & performing arts, robotics, and dual immersion. Under his leadership, two schools recently were awarded Schools to Watch at the state and national level. Several schools also earned honors for incorporating civic education. Recently, twenty-eight out of thirty-one schools and the district received the CA Pivotal Practice Awards for innovative teaching strategies implemented during the pandemic. Dr. Jiménez holds a B.S in Physiology from CSU Long Beach, M.S. in Administration from Pepperdine, and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California.


Mauricio Arellano, Superintendent, Redlands USD

Mauricio Arellano

Mr. Arellano was appointed Superintendent of the Redlands Unified School District in September of 2017 after an extensive national search. Prior to his arrival to the Redlands Unified School District, Mr. Arellano served as the Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources for the Palm Springs Unified School District for fourteen years. Previous to his assignment in Palm Springs, he served for twelve years as the Certificated Director of Personnel, Elementary Principal, Elementary Vice-Principal and Elementary Teacher for the San Bernardino City Unified School District. Mr. Arellano is a long-time member of the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), the California Association of Bilingual Educators (CABE), the School Superintendents Association (AASA), the Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) and the American Association of School Personnel Administrators (AASPA). He was recently invited to become a member of the National Center for Education Research and Technology (NCERT), a very prestigious national level Superintendents Association. Recognitions include being named ACSA’s Region XIX Personnel/Human Resources Administrator of the Year in 2008, ACSA’s Ray Curry Award winner for excellence in school personnel in 2012, the recipient of the 2015 Riverside County Office of Education Models of Excellence Award for his work with the Skillful Leader Program and the 2016 Riverside County Administrator of the year. Since his arrival in Redlands, working in tandem with the Board of Education and all the remarkable employees at RUSD, the District has been focused on implementing a 21st Century learning experience for all students.

Mr. Arellano earned his Bachelor’s Degrees in Sociology and Spanish in 1990 from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and his Master of Arts Degree in Educational Administration in 1996 from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB).



Deepika Srivastava, STEAM & Innovation Coordinator, Redlands USD


Deepika is the STEAM & Innovation Coordinator at Redlands Unified School District in California. Srivastava  is well known for conceptualizing, planning, and coordinating K-12 STEM programs/pathways in collaboration with community partners to ensure student achievement for the entire spectrum of student needs and strengths to close the opportunity gap for historically underrepresented minorities, with a special focus on girls, Multi-language learners, and students with disabilities. She has presented at various state ( CA STEAM Symposium, CASE), national (CUE, NCTM, MITScratch) and international level conferences(ISTE2020, ISTE 2022). In 2020, she received the C-STEM Administrator of the Year and is the recipient of ISTE certificate for Artificial Intelligence Explorations in 2021. She has a Master of Science degree in Physics, Computer Applications and Educational Administration,  a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Math, Physics, Chemistry, Introductory Science, administrative credential and over 16 years of professional experience as an educator in the United States and India.


Patricia Elder, Teacher, Los Altos Elementary

Patricia Elder

Ms. Patricia Elder is a passionate third grade teacher at Los Altos Elementary. She has worked as a site leader, not only in CSTEM, but also in New Pedagogies for Deeper Learning (NPDL),  and Teaching English Language Through the Arts (TELA), 

She is currently in her 28th year teaching and is participating in the HLPUSD UC Davis cohort to obtain her CSTEM certification. 

She is also proud to work in the same district where she attended school. When Ms. Elder is not teaching she enjoys going to Disneyland and collecting Disney memorabilia.

Education: Cal Poly Pomona BA in Liberal Studies, and MA in Language and Literature

Years Teaching: 28 years teaching all at Los Altos Elementary

Awards: Teacher of the Year