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avatar for Derek Niño

Derek Niño

JFF
Associate Director
Boston, MA

Derek Niño is an associate director at JFF. He works with regional, state, and national partners to create, expand, and increase access to work-based learning opportunities for African American, Latinx, and low-income youth.

Derek focuses on developing pathways that lead to both high-skill, in-demand, family-sustaining careers and educational options. He often starts projects by assessing partners’ assets and identifying the resources necessary to develop work-based learning opportunities. He then provides partners with support and technical assistance to help them create and align the desired pathways.

His skills and areas of expertise include:
Analyzing and mapping the assets of regional, state, and national systems
Developing career pathways
Providing technical assistance that increases work-based learning opportunities
Creating professional development and adult learning experiences
Writing grants
Linked learning
English language learner education
Diversity, equity, and inclusion
Competency-based education

Before joining JFF, Derek worked as a math teacher, a high school administrator, and an intradistrict advisor on English learning in the Corona-Norco Unified School District in California.

He also served as a consultant to the Delaware Department of Education and spent a year with the Rhode Island Department of Education as a Harvard doctoral resident.

Derek says he was drawn to JFF because the organization works to “not only create pathways that lead to life-changing career and educational opportunities, but also increase access to those pathways for marginalized youth.” Being a part of this work, he adds, "is the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.”

On a personal note, Derek says he used to be a professional musician and spent nearly half of his life in bands, playing in Los Angeles and touring nationally. Now, he says, “I’m content just working out a Beatles tune on guitar or piano.”