Sean Arce, Ph.D.
Sean Arce, Ph.D. is a Xicano, Daddy, Compañero, Educator, Activist, and Barrio Scholar. He is the co-founder and former director of the nationally renowned K-12 Mexican American Studies Department in Tucson, Arizona, received the first Myles Horton Award for Teaching People’s History from the Zinn Education Project (ZEP) in 2012. ZEP honored Dr. Arce "for his instrumental role in nurturing one of the most significant and successful public school initiatives on the teaching of history in the United States." Dr. Arce served as a plaintiff in Arce v. State of Arizona (2017), a seven year political and legal struggle, and successfully challenged Arizona’s anti-Ethnic Studies law, where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States Judge Wallace A. Tashima found Arizona guilty of “enacting and enforcing the law with racial animus towards Mexican Americans.” Dr. Arce’s work has been highlighted on PBS, Democracy Now, National Public Radio and by numerous other outlets/publications.
As an activist urban educator who has worked in public schools for over 20 years, Dr. Arce believes that what made his colleagues and himself effective was the implementation and continuous development of a “Barrio Pedagogy.” Within this innovative and transformative pedagogy, indigenous epistemologies and social justice based frameworks were utilized where students and teachers in collaboration co-constructed an educational experience that fostered an academic identity and the development of a strong cultural identity.
Dr. Arce earned his B.A. in Mexican American Studies from the University of Arizona, M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University, and his Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies from the University of Arizona. Since arriving back to his home state of California, Dr. Arce had established and taught the first high school Chicana/o Studies course in the Azusa Unified School District, teaches a course in Chicanx Adolescence in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at California State University Northridge, was a Teacher on Special Assignment - Social Justice in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. He continues to serve as an educational consultant with the Xicanx Institute for Teaching and Organizing (XITO) and in collaboration with his partner Dr. Irene Sanchez for Ollin Educational Services.