UPDATE: Former Lansing School Board Trustee Kurt Richardson reached out to 6 News noting that his children do not attend East Lansing Public Schools, as President Rachel Willis said. He said his children are not old enough to attend school. Willis did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The Lansing School District Board of Education has a new member, the school board announced Friday in a news release.

The board has voted to select Dr. Deyanira Nevárez Martínez to fill the seat vacated by Kurt Richardson, who left the board for employment reasons, according to the statement. Richardson took a position with the MSU football team.

Nevárez Martínez wrote in her letter of application to the board: “My experiences as a dedicated mother, educator, woman of color, and scholar with a Ph.D. in Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy, along with my deep commitment to educational equity, make me a highly qualified and passionate candidate for this vital role. I believe I bring a unique blend of personal and professional experiences that would be an asset to the board and the Lansing community.”

Dr. Deyanira Nevárez Martínez (WLNS)

Nevárez Martínez is a Michigan State University faculty member in urban and regional planning, as well as Chicano/Latino Studies. She completed her Ph.D. in Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy at the University of California, Irvine.

Before working in academia, she worked for U.S. Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva and then spearheaded a campaign to fight Arizona’s ban on Mexican American Studies in the K-12 system. She has served as a state coordinator for the Mi Familia Vota Education Fund.

Nevárez Martínez has two sons, ages 7 and 12.