The latino policy institute
Multilingual Director for East Providence Schools
Yaniza Gallant’s story begins as a refugee born in Havana, Cuba to parents who immigrated to the United States when she was only five years old. Despite language barriers, her dad worked multiple jobs to provide for their family as they began their new life in Passaic, New Jersey until they moved to Providence, Rhode Island when Yaniza was 11 years old.
Throughout her public school education, she saw education as an equalizer for her that changed the trajectory of her life. Due to barriers such as language and lack of resources, there was little interaction between her home life and her school life. Even with extremely supportive parents, Yaniza was told that college was out of her reach. It was because of her teacher, Mr. Roberts who became her first adult advocate that her dreams of being the first in her family to go to college was achieved and she attended Rhode Island College.
Beginning as a bilingual teacher in the Providence School Department and later becoming a Principal at Orlo Elementary in East Providence, Yaniza became what she always wanted to see during her education for her students. She uses her personal story to show students and families what is possible. Her career has come full circle, in the last two years Yaniza has been the Multilingual Learner Director for the East Providence School Districts. As Director, she oversees all students and staff of second language learners.
As a first generation Cuban American, Yaniza experienced first hand the struggle of a refugee from a young age. It is the drive to succeed and achieve that she holds center to her identity. She believes Latinos are rich in that drive and passion in the pursuit of a better tomorrow for generations to come and honoring the core values and beliefs our nation was built on.