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2018 Judges

Gayla Thomas-Dabney is the Director of Equity and Inclusion in the Office of Institutional Compliance at Boise State University since October 31, 2016. Her primary role is to oversee Compliance Investigators and a Title IX Coordinator, and ensure that Boise State University is in compliance with Federal regulations regarding Affirmative Action (Executive Order 11246). In addition, the Office of Institutional Compliance at Boise State University is to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local authorities requiring nondiscrimination, including but not limited to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. Lastly, she was asked by the President at Boise State University to co-chair the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion and oversee the Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion at the University. Prior to reporting to Boise State University, she worked at Eastern Washington University as the Director Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/ADA/Title IX, reporting directly to the President, and was a key leader in the work of diversity and inclusion at the University for 8 years. She has worked for the Department of Defense, the City of Gainesville Florida, and served in the United States Navy for 24 years, in which she retired with honorable service as a Senior Chief Petty Officer. Gayla is a member of the National Association for Chief Diversity Officers in Higher Education, will graduate with her doctorate in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University next year, holds a Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Webster University, a Bachelor of Science in Workforce Education Training and Development from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and certifications in Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, Title IX, ADA, mediation/dispute resolution-conflict management. She is a native of Jacksonville Florida, and resides in Boise Idaho with her husband, daughter, and son

I was born in Zacatecas Mexico but I have resided in the Burley/Twin Falls and Magic Valley areas for over 32 years.  I graduated from the College of Southern Idaho with an Associates.  I previously managed the Idaho Migrant Council Region Two offices for 6 years, and worked for them for over 10 years.  I have owned and managed The Alex Real Estate Team for 13 years before opening Blue Lakes Real Estate Company which has been in business now for 3 years. I have been married to my talented wife Lupe for 23 years.  We have two boys Dominique 22 and Joshua 15.  In my spare time I enjoy golfing, BBQ, and spending time with my boys, I also enjoy traveling and exploring Aztec and Mayan ruins.

I was born in Zacatecas Mexico but I have resided in the Burley/Twin Falls and Magic Valley areas for over 32 years.  I graduated from the College of Southern Idaho with an Associates.  I previously managed the Idaho Migrant Council Region Two offices for 6 years, and worked for them for over 10 years.  I have owned and managed The Alex Real Estate Team for 13 years before opening Blue Lakes Real Estate Company which has been in business now for 3 years. I have been married to my talented wife Lupe for 23 years.  We have two boys Dominique 22 and Joshua 15.  In my spare time I enjoy golfing, BBQ, and spending time with my boys, I also enjoy traveling and exploring Aztec and Mayan ruins.

In 2011, Fidel was honored for his human rights work and for becoming a US citizen by Boise City Mayor, David Bieter, who presented him with a flag flown over the U.S Capitol building. He currently sits on the Mayor’s Refugee Steering group while traveling across Idaho and the US sharing his story to inspire people and bring awareness about refugee resettlement. Additionally, Fidel is a vice chair of the UN Refugee Congress, a nationwide advocacy agency for immigrants, where he also serves as a refugee youth mentor. Other accolades include keynote speaker at the inauguration of the Idaho Human Rights Education Center Book Club; receiving the Idaho Refugee Integration and Success Award from the Idaho Office for Refugees; presenter at the Refugees in the Heartland Conference in Iowa and at the Martin Luther King Day celebration at the Idaho Capitol Rotunda; and presented with the Boise Police department at the NACOLE Conference in Utah promoting the new Police Refugee Liaison Officer position in 2013, a model that has improved the interaction between refugees and Law Enforcement in Idaho.

Alison Smith, an award-winning journalist, is the Editor of the Times-News and Magicvalley.com. Smith joined the Times-News staff in 2011 as breaking news, crime and courts reporter. Smith has roots in the Magic Valley. Her mother and grandparents grew up in Twin Falls, and she has family members scattered across the valley. Smith’s journalism career began as a photographer for her high school yearbook. After graduating from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2009, she began her reporting career at the Shoshone News-Press in Kellogg. After obtaining her master’s degree in community journalism at the University of Alabama, she worked in central Washington at NCW Media for two weekly newspapers and a monthly business journal before joining the Times-News. Smith enjoys cooking, gardening, kayaking and spending time with her three cats and new puppy.