Gisella Aitken-Shadle

Equity & Human Rights
Title: Chief of Equity & Human Rights
Phone: 563-589-4190

Prior to joining the City of Dubuque in 2022, Gisella Aitken-Shadle served as the district director of adult education and literacy at Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) since 2015 and led the college’s High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and Adult Basic Education (ABE) programs.  She also served as the chairperson of NICC’s Diversity Equity, and Inclusion Committee. From 2009 to 2015, Aitken-Shadle was an instructor in NICC’s Adult Education and Literacy Academy, ESOL, and Spanish GED programs. 

Prior to her time at NICC, Aitken-Shadle served as the director of Hispanic ministry for St. Raphael Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Dubuque from June of 2011 to September of 2013 and the director of Hispanic ministry for the Archdiocese of Dubuque from August 2010 to February 2012. She also worked previously an instructor and coordinator of services for English Language Learners at the LAYC Career Academy, a tuition-free charter school for adults in Washington, DC. 

Aitken-Shadle received her doctor of education degree in leadership for organizations, as well as a master’s degree in public administration (MPA) and a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a human rights concentration and a minor in political science from the University of Dayton.  She is fluent in English, Spanish, French, and Italian. 

Her community involvement and professional associations include serving as a steering committee member for the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees Alliance to Foster Equity and Inclusion, a board member for the United Way of the Dubuque Area Tri-States, a board member for the Dubuque Multicultural Family Center, and a committee member for the Pacific Islander Health Project.  Aitken-Shadle is vice president and board member for the Latina Leadership Initiative (LLI) and a founder and board member for Latino Empowerment and Development (LEAD).  She is a founding member of the Iowa Latino Alliance, which was established during the COVID pandemic and provides a free Spanish translation/interpretation service.  She also serves on the Dubuque Community School District Equity Committee, the Association of Iowa Latinx Professionals (PILA) Advisory Board, and the Iowa Literacy Council.  She is a past board member for Greater Dubuque Development Corporation (GDDC) and served on GDDC’s Future Leadership Committee.  She was named a 2021 Rising Star by the Telegraph Herald. 


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