August 18, 2022
Our Speakers this week are Erik Erazo and Jean Cantero Segura. The topic is "Helping Kids Succeed with Lowrider Bike Club."
How a Mechanic Became a Top Johnson County School Leader and Changed Kids’ Lives
 
Originally from California, Erik Erazo enlisted in the United States Army after earning his high school diploma. Erazo started at Olathe North High School more than 18 years ago and was inspired to further his education. Soon after, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education.
 
As featured in the Kansas City Star cover story February 23, 2022:
 
Erik Erazo, hair slicked back, tattoos peeking out from under his rolled-up shirtsleeves, surveys the Olathe garage, filled with teens clinking wrenches and adjusting tall handlebars.
 
To the side is their finished work: lowrider bikes embellished with velvet banana seats, metallic paint and intricately twisted metal, each worth as much as $5,000. “It’s essentially art therapy… (but don’t tell the kids)”.
 
At one time, Erazo, a California-bred mechanic, was very much like these high schoolers. The child of Guatemalan immigrants, he struggled to embrace his identity while straddling two cultures. A teen dad, he was labelled a troubled kid at risk of dropping out of school.
 
But today, he has worked his way up from serving as a school security officer to becoming one of the top administrators in the Olathe school district. Through his perspective he has created programs- like his low rider bike club- that have transformed the lives of dozens of students, while helping to reshape the community they live in. As a result, every single participant has gone on to graduate, a far higher rate than is typical for at-risk students.
 
His two flagship programs are the Olathe Leadership Lowrider Bike Club and The Spot which target at-risk youth by providing mentorship and encourages students to maintain personal identities while removing negative activities.
 
Erazo serves on multiple community boards and received the 2013 Olathe Human Relations Educator Award,  the 2017 Olathe Public Schools Emporia State University Master Teacher Award, the 2019 City of Olathe Cathedral Builder Award and the 2021 NCAAP Hero for Diversity Award.
 
Jean Cantero - Student and Family Support Specialist, Department of Student & Community Engagement
 
An alumnus of the Olathe School District, Jean Cantero supports students and families from cultural backgrounds and underserved needs with programming and support across the district. Cantero brings years of experience in providing students with guidance on navigating post-secondary institutions and accessing area resources.
 
Cantero attended school in Olathe from kindergarten through high school, graduating in 2013 from Olathe South High School. As a first-generation college graduate, Cantero has an understanding of the barriers student face in their academic journey and how to best overcome these challenges. After earning his undergraduate degree, Cantero began working in college admissions to advocate for students striving to continue their education. Additionally, his experience includes advising students on scholarship access and collegiate resources. Cantero serves on multiple committees and is a member of the Olathe Family YMCA Community Mission Board.
 
Cantero holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a master’s degree in Instructional Design & Technology, both from Emporia State University.
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