Ms. Helen Valdez is a retired faculty member of Mathematics Department of Truman College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. She taught in department for 30 years and served as its chairperson from 2004 to 2010. In 2002, she helped launch the Transitional Bilingual Learning Community (TBLC) at Truman College. Currently in its 18 th year, the TBLC program continues to provide immigrant Latino students a comprehensive college level program that supports their pursuit of higher education in the City Colleges of Chicago. She also taught mathematics at Bowen High School CPS from 1972 to 1980 and was a consultant for the Office of Language and Culture of CPS from 1999 to 2004. In addition to her strong commitment to mathematics education, she has extensive experience with designing and developing educational as well as cultural programs; fund development for the arts; and project management and evaluation.

Ms. Helen Valdez co-founded and served as president and associate director of Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (1982-1997). In 1987, the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (MFACM) became the largest facility of its kind in the nation playing a major role in the U.S. of promoting the appreciation and understanding of the Mexican culture, a culture “sin fronteras” (without borders). In June 1997, the Accreditation Commission of the American Association of Museums voted to award the MFACM with full accreditation. With this recognition, the MFACM became the first Latino Museum in the nation to be accredited, and only the nation’s second culturally grounded museum to do so. In 2006, the MFACM was renamed and became the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Ms. Valdez has served many arts and nonprofit organizations as a board member including Contratiempo, the literary arts organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the identity and cultural expression of the Spanish speaking Latino population of U.S. (2008-2014), the American Association of Museums (1992-98), the Illinois Arts Council (1992-96), the Illinois Arts Alliance (1987-92), Donors Forum (1990-94), and Urban Gateways (1989-92). She also chaired the Mexico City – Chicago Friendship Committee, part of the Chicago Sister Cities Program (1989-94).

Ms. Valdez is a graduate of the University of Chicago, holding a MST degree in mathematics education and has a BA degree in mathematics from Mundelein College, Chicago. In 1991, she was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Columbia College Chicago and the Distinguished Service to the Arts Award from the National Governors’ Association.