Program Leader John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas

John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas

John-Paul Chaisson-Cárdenas
Program Leader
Extension and Outreach
110E Ext 4-H Bldg
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: 515-294-1018



John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas is the state 4-H Youth Development program leader for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
John-Paul is an immigrant from Guatemala and has been recognized at the local, state, and national level for his work with and for underserved and underrepresented communities.

Professional Experience

He has held several public offices, including state director of equity and civil rights at the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and four terms as Iowa Latino Affairs commissioner before being appointed by then Governor Tom Vilsack to lead the Division of Latino Affairs. In previous roles he has served as the executive director at the Latino Community Fund, and the public policy lead and product development manager at the Northwest Area Foundation in St. Paul, Minn.
He has had academic appointments at the University of Iowa, including national training and technical assistance director at the National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice, the executive director of the Institute for the Support of Latino/a Families and Communities, and a co-founder of the Disproportionate Minority Confinement/Contact Research Center.


John-Paul has a bachelor’s degree in sociology/international relatrons/multiculturalism from Saint Mary University. He has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Iowa, and has completed his course work toward a doctorate in cultural competence education and training at the same institution. As a young adult, he worked in meatpacking in Kansas to put himself through school, and it was there he began his work in the United States as an advocate, community organizer, and educator.