Celina Casillas

This is my first year at Paulo Freire Freedom School and I’m excited to be part of a community that respects students of diverse backgrounds and approaches them as individuals. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree of Psychology and a minor in Sociology. While attending college, I helped direct an afterschool program for teenagers from low-income families. I enjoyed planning and coordinating activities for these teens because it helped keep them active and off the streets.

After graduating, I started working with children at La Frontera Behavioral Health Center.  I assessed children’s strengths and needs, then would refer them for appropriate services. I also facilitated various therapeutic groups for children ages 5 up to 17 years old. After 5 years of working with children I wanted to expand my experience within the behavioral health field and was one of the first staff hired to work at a newly opened Geriatric Psychiatric unit at St. Mary’s hospital. Although I’m proud to have been part of the staff that provided patients with dignity and respect, it was during this time I reflected and decided that I missed working with youth.

I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree of Education in Special Education through Grand Canyon University. It’s my goal to graduate and to continue working as a Special Education teacher and Inclusion Specialist. I care deeply about the children in Tucson and its community because I was born and raised here! I want to be a positive role model and support the Tucson youth. I don’t think I’ll ever move out of Tucson, but I enjoy traveling and have started trying to visit one new place out of Arizona a year. My husband is also born and raised in Tucson and we have two daughters Lucy (6 yrs old) and Elise who is almost 2. We like to go camping, hiking, eating s’mores, listening to music, looking at nature and joking around.