Eva Marie Shivers, J.D., Ph.D. – Executive Director And Founder
Dr. Eva Marie Shivers is a proud, third generation South Phoenix resident. Dr. Shivers is a nationally recognized researcher on issues related to culture, community, and family and child development. Prior to relocating to Arizona and founding the Indigo Cultural Center, Dr. Shivers was a faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA’s Department of Education, Psychological Studies in Education. Dr. Shivers also holds a law degree from Howard University School of Law, and a BA in English Literature from Arizona State University.
She has presented her research throughout the country and has numerous peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Shivers also provides research consultation to federal, state and local policy makers – especially around the issues of how to create culturally responsive and equitable early childhood systems.
Dr. Shivers has a dual identity as scholar and artist. She has danced professionally in Phoenix, New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. She has taught dance and musical theater in community settings for more than three decades.
Natasha Pérez Byars, MPH. – Director of Equity Consultation and Training
Natasha Pérez Byars is the Director of Equity Consultation and Training at Indigo Cultural Center and is a licensed independent clinical social worker. She is a biracial, Black and Hispanic woman, with family lineage coming out of Monterrey, Mexico through the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, as well as the cotton fields and red clay surrounding the freed persons town of Colony, Alabama which her great, great grandparents helped establish. Natasha earned a master’s degree in child development from Erikson Institute, a master’s of social work from Loyola University Chicago, and completed a post-graduate clinical social work fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a ZERO TO THREE Academy Fellow (2018-2020) and has worked in infant and early childhood mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention as a clinician as well as systems leader, and in workforce development in early childhood education. She holds the principles of liberation, inclusion, and honoring families and lived expertise as central to her work.
Jayley Janssen, PhD. – Director of the Institute for Child Development Research and Social Change
Dr. Jayley Janssen is the Director of the Institute for Child Development Research and Social Change at Indigo Cultural Center. She uses anti-racist and equity-explicit framing to conduct rigorous evaluations that center the perspectives of educators, families, and community members. Dr. Janssen’s work is informed by the salience and privilege of her white racial identity, her upbringing on farmland in rural Illinois, and her research on the operation of racism and white supremacy in educational contexts.
Jena Nagamine – Director of Finance and Human Resources
Jena Nagamine began her career working with women with eating disorders while studying Applied Social Psychology in Utah. She transitioned to working in Social Work and Early Childhood Education after graduating and moving to Arizona. While working with predominately immigrant families, Jena became more and more invested in racial equality, and supporting marginalized groups.
Jonathan Gonzales, M.P.A. – Board Chair
Jonathan has been serving on Indigo’s board since 2013. Working with Indigo has helped Jonathan to reflect on his own work and career and his commitment to social justice and equity work. Jonathan is proud of the training on racial and social equity that Indigo has developed and values the commitment to social justice issues, as well as the importance of arts and early education. Jonathan has dedicated his time and expertise to Indigo because of his belief that in today’s climate of polarized racial politics and increasing tensions, social and racial equity programs and training are needed more than ever. “We need to continue to strive towards a society where racially just communities promote strong nurturing families and healthy child outcomes.”
Our Board Members
Dr. Mary Warren
Dr. Raquel Monroe