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Melissa Moreno's Biography

I was born and raised in California’s agricultural heartlands, much like Yolo County. As a farmworkers’ daughter, growing up in poverty, I attended Head Start, Migrant Education, and English as a Second Language programs. My parents’ history as advocates for standard housing and bilingual education deeply inspired my altruism and sense of service to others less privileged. Public schools prepared me to become the first elementary, high school, and college graduate in my family and to earn a Master’s and a Doctorate in Education. In this journey I have learned a deep sense of cooperation and collaboration.

Now, as a Professor and Director of Ethnic Studies, I prepare my students for their educational journey. The central lesson to them is to use their education in service of their communities. At the same time, I am a mother of primary school children. In this position, I have been actively involved in PTA, School Climate Committee, English Language Advisory Committee, and participated in the DJUSD Local Control Accountability Plan review process.  While I have lived in Trustee area 2 since 2006, my husband Steve Nyholm’s family, has lived in Area 2 for over 100 years. He has deep roots to this community. His grandfather, Robert Nash, planted the Sycamore trees in Central Park when working for the University Farm at Davis (prior to UC Davis being established) and also served on the early DJUSD board from 1955-1967.

In my everyday life in Yolo County, I have proven my commitment and integrity to be a steward of education for all, especially the most vulnerable in our schools and society. My professional and life experience has prepared me to serve in the position of Trustee.


Distinctions & Awards

  • Yolo County Board of Supervisors Recognition for Safe Community Resolution Collaboration, 2017
  • Excellence in Education Award, Yolo County, 2015
  • Commendation for Leadership & Service, US Representative John Garamendi, 2013
  • Commendation for Service, Chicano Latino Caucus, 2013
  • John W. Rice Diversity & Equity Award Nominee, 2013
  • Ally of the Youth Award, Woodland Coalition for Youth, 2010


  • American Educational Studies Association (AESA)
  • National Association of Ethnic Studies (NAES)
  • National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS)
  • Faculty Association of California Community Colleges
  • Mexican American Concilio of Yolo County

Appointed Positions and Professional Service


  • Member of High School Ethnic Studies Advisory Committee, 2017 - present
  • Member of College Diversity Committee, 2008 - present
  • College Council Member, 2015 - present
  • Caucus Representative of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Northern California Indigenous Caucus, 2015 - present
  • FOCO Representative of National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Northern California, 2013 - 2015
  • Member of Library Advisory Committee, 2011 - 2013
  • Founder and Coordinator of Cross-Cultural Series, 2009 - present
  • Co-organizer of Cesar Chavez Sí Se Puede Youth Leadership Conference, 2009
  • Outreach Coordinator of Chicana/o Scholarship Fund, 2003 - 2004


  • Board president and volunteer of Friends of the Woodland Public Library, 2011 - 2015
  • Member of Davis Joint Unified School District Taskforce for Achievement Gap (TAG) in Davis, California, 2010 - 2013
  • Organizer of Volunteers for Cesar Chavez Youth Leadership Conference at University of California, Davis, 2013
  • Member of Woodland Coalition for Youth Nonprofit Member, 2009 - 2011
  • Board Member of Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts (MICA) non-profit, 2003 - 2010
  • Workshop Facilitator of Cesar E. Chavez Youth Leadership Conference, 2006
  • Volunteer of Future Leaders of America: Latino Youth Leadership Organization, 1999 - 2006


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