Ruth López, Director

Ruth López is an education advocate and organizer in the Central Valley. Based in her hometown in Kings County, she currently works remotely with Penn Hill Group, a Washington, D.C. based education policy lobbying and consulting firm, where she focuses on bridging the divide between policy and practice. López has a strong background in education policy and particular expertise in issues relating to English language learners and disadvantaged communities. López started her career in Washington, D.C. where she worked as a policy analyst at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s (MALDEF) National Public Policy Office where she handled key federal policy priorities including developing and advocating for policies focused on increasing educational attainment among Latinos. Ruth is a founding board member for the Armona Scholarship Committee, a Hanford Relay For Life team captain, a volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Central California South Troop #3049 and a Kings County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). She currently serves on the boards for the Central Valley Partnership and American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) Region 1653, and as an Executive Board member to the California Democratic Party representing Assembly District 32. Most recently, she established a non-profit organization focused on civic engagement and increasing voter turnout called Valley Voices. López holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish with an emphasis on Hispanic languages and bilingual issues and a minor in education from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ivette Chaidez, Social Media Manager

IIvette is a local business owner, community organizer and safe driving advocate. She and her family emigrated from Mexico to the Central Valley in 1991 and have lived in Hanford since 1993. In 2012, after the tragic loss of her sister “Itzy”, she founded Buckle Up for Itzy, a local non profit group, to raise awareness, educate and empower teens, parents and members of our community about the dangers of reckless and distracted driving by sharing her sister’s story using evidence-based programs in English and Spanish. Ivette has received various awards for her work around injury prevention, most recently, she received the Latino Inspire Award from former Congressman TJ Cox for her outstanding service to California’s 21st Congressional District. Ivette’s passion for empowering others is not limited to traffic safety and injury prevention, she believes empowering underserved populations is paramount to happy, healthy and equitable communities, this led her to joining the Valley Voices team. Ivette combines her public speaking and community organizing experience with her love for social media to disseminate critical information to community members in her position as Social Media Associate at Valley Voices.

Claire Fitiausi, Community Relations and Development Assistant 

Claire is currently the President of the Kings County Art League and serves on the Executive Board of the Kings Art Center.  She is an elected Delegate for the California Democratic Party and founder of Indivisible Kings County. She previously served on the board of the Parent Teacher Club of her daughter’s bilingual Spanish/English school, working with parents and educators to plan and execute educational and social events for K-8 students. She’s worked as a Team Lead and Supervisor with excellent results in problem resolution.