(San Antonio • November 18, 2021) IDRA launched its first Education Policy Fellows Program last year with four fellows who gained real-world advocacy experience and training during the 2021 Texas legislative session, because we know state policymakers can make stronger education policy decisions by working with advocates who are connected to impacted communities. The first cycle of the Texas fellowship ended in July.

Today, we are pleased to introduce our new fellow, Mikayla Arciaga, M.A.Ed., who will focus on education policy in Georgia.

Students of color make up most of the Georgia public school population – about 63% – and Georgia grows more diverse each year. Yet, advocates of color often are rarely present in the rooms where decisions about the lives and opportunities for students of color are made.

IDRA’s ground-breaking program seeks to change that picture during the next legislative session. Our Education Policy Fellow will work with coalitions, students and families to craft a community-centered education policy agenda and join a network of advocates and policy influencers focused on improving racial equity in education policymaking spaces.

The IDRA Education Policy Fellows Program is generously supported by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Mikayla Arciaga, MMikayla Arciaga, M .A.Ed..A.Ed.

IDRA Education Policy Fellow – Georgia Education Policy

Mikayla Arciaga, M.A. Ed., spent the last five years teaching high school math and coaching swimming at Title I schools in both Florida and Georgia. While still in the classroom, she worked with multiple school districts in a variety of roles focusing on community engagement, curriculum improvement, teacher development and policy analysis. During her summers, Mikayla collaborated with and led a team of policy fellows assisting school board members in metro Atlanta and across the country. She contributed to several projects including a line-item review of an $800 million budget, an equity audit of almost 200 school board policies, and an analysis of both school and state-level per pupil expenditure data.

Throughout her work at the school district level, she recognized the need for high-quality accountability processes in the public school system, which motivated her to pursue a master’s degree in program evaluation in the educational environment from the University of Florida. Mikayla’s policy interests are centered around dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, accessibility for students with disabilities and digital accessibility. Outside of education policy, her other great love has been to make swimming accessible to learners of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. As a swim coach, she has worked to create a space focusing on sportsmanship, community, and joy, bringing home the first city championship in school history.