Mariela Estrada was appointed to the Chicago Board of Education by Mayor Brandon Johnson and began serving on July 18, 2023.
Mariela was born in Guerrero, Mexico, raised on the Southwest Side of Chicago, and is the mother of a CPS student. Estrada is currently the Director of Community Engagement at United Way of Metro Chicago, where she supports neighborhood networks across the south and west side communities all making collaborative impact. She previously was the first Community Engagement Coordinator for the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG); OIG is charged with rooting out corruption, ensuring effectiveness and looking at ways to improve city government. In this capacity, she promoted the work of OIG by conducting outreach and educational workshops to communities across the 77 communities in Chicago and included community voices in all published reports that impacted communities; reports included CPD Gang Database review and the Chicago Public Schools School Resource Officers report.
Mariela was also the Director of Organizing for Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC). In this capacity, she managed all health and wellness initiatives throughout the Brighton Park community with a base in 7 Chicago Public Schools in the community, where she started a health promoter model duplicated by national best practices and customizing based on community needs. In addition, she was a part of the initiative to expand mental health services across the city by starting local advocacy and coordinating trainings for locals to get more informed on topics that were affecting the community. She coordinated the efforts to collect health and mental health data across 9 community areas on the southwest side to prove the need for mental health services.
Mariela has a B.A in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies and a CPS graduate. Mariela is a trained Spanish/English Interpreter through the DuPage Language Access Center and was a participant of the Latino Policy Forum’s Leadership Academy. She also served 2 terms as a Local School Council parent member on the southwest side of Chicago. In addition, she has worked with various coalitions throughout the city focused on increasing the minimum wage, early childhood education, immigrant rights, voter engagement, health care access and mental health access advocate. In her free time, she loves to spend time outdoors with her family, eating at good local restaurants, listening to music, reading good books, as well as spending quality time with loved ones.