Irene Sanchez, Ph.D. is a Xicana, Mama, Teacher, Poet, Writer, and Public Scholar. Born in Los Angeles and raised in the Inland Empire, she first learned about Ethnic Studies/Chicano Studies from her first teachers, her parents. At Rubidoux High School in the Inland Empire, she was a freshman student in the first Chicano Studies course demanded by the community following walkouts due to the racist proposition, Prop 187. Dr. Sanchez proudly attended a California Community College before transferring to UC Santa Cruz where she earned her B.A. in Latin American/Latino Studies and Sociology. She went on to earn a M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Washington-Seattle. Dr. Sanchez also has a graduate certificate in Feminist Studies and was a fellow in the Public Scholarship program at the UW Simpson Center for the Humanties. She also holds a California single subject social studies teaching credential.
After teaching college level Ethnic Studies and Education courses for nearly 8 years, Dr. Sanchez is proudly a high school teacher. She teaches the only Chicano/Latino Studies course at three high schools everyday in the Azusa Unified School District. Recently Dr. Sanchez was selected for the National Humanities Center Teacher Advisory Council for the 2019-2020 school year where she is the only teacher from California and only Ethnic Studies teacher on the 20 member council.
An award wining poet/writer, public scholar, and author of the blog “Xicana Ph.D.”, Dr. Sanchez’ was the recepient of the 2018 Joe Hill Labor Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in CNN, HuffPost, Public Radio International, Zocalo Public Square, Inside Higher Ed and more. Her commentary has been featured by multiple public radio outlets and print publications including KPCC, KPFK, NPR Latino USA, LA Times and ProPublica among some. She is the co-founder of Ollin Educational Services with her partner and Ethnic Studies education leader, Dr. Sean Arce where they specialize in curriculum development and professional/teacher development around successful implementation and teaching of Ethnic Studies.
She is the proud mother of her son Quetzal and resides in Los Angeles, CA.