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Jane is a senior reporter covering student health at EdSource Today. Jane is a former staff reporter for the Boston Globe, where she covered social services, particularly as related to the AIDS epidemic and the foster care system. She is also the co-author of The Last Time I Wore a Dress (Putnam/Riverhead), an award-winning account of a young woman’s journey through the mental health system. She has been a contributing editor at Health magazine and Parenting, and her reporting on California has appeared in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, and many other publications. Prior to joining EdSource, she worked for five years at a K-8 school in Oakland. She has an A.B. in government from Harvard University and an M.A. in English and an M.F.A. in Writing from San Francisco State University.
Michelle Alcantar attends James Lick High School as a junior and is a student leader with Californians For Justice. She is passionate about being an advocate for student voice in her community and loves working with other youth leaders. She hopes to continue higher education at Stanford to study medicine.
Élida M. Bautista provides trauma-informed consultation and training for schools participating in Mission Promise Neighborhoods through UCSF HEARTS at the elementary, middle school, and high school level. Her research, teaching, and clinical work have focused on multicultural mental health issues, primarily with underserved populations presenting with chronic trauma. She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan. She completed a one-year Dissertation Fellowship from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she taught psychology in the Chicano Studies Department. Dr. Bautista completed her post-doctoral training at UCSF/SFGH Child and Adolescent Services, where she specialized in working with Spanish-Speaking Latino clients, primarily victims of crime.
Ramona Bishop was selected as superintendent of Vallejo City Unified in February 2011 after a nationwide search. She served as superintendent from April, 2011 to March, 2017. During that time, she led the district team on an aggressive reform agenda. Prior to becoming Superintendent of Vallejo City Unified School District, Dr. Bishop served as Associate Superintendent for Educational Services in the Twin Rivers Unified School District. Her professional career also includes teaching, serving as principal, director, assistant superintendent and superintendent in several urban school districts. Dr. Bishop’s personal goal is to ensure that all students achieve at high levels and are prepared for success in college and career.
Darin Brawley is currently in his fifth year as superintendent for the Compton Unified School District. He earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern California, his Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from California State University, San Bernardino, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Redlands. Prior to his appointment as superintendent in Compton, Mr. Brawley served as a superintendent of Adelanto Elementary School District, deputy superintendent of student learning and director of human resources for three years. Prior to his roles in executive leadership, he served as a principal of middle school and elementary school and as a high school teacher. Brawley is also serves on EdSource's Board of Directors.
Aaron Brengard is the principal of Katherine Smith School, an elementary school in the Evergreen School District in San Jose, California. Brengard led a “culture first” implementation of project-based learning to reinvent this traditional, public, neighborhood school into an caring and supportive deeper learning environment. Katherine Smith is a New Tech Network School, a No Excuses University School, a partner with Buck Institute for Education, and has been named a Partnership for 21st Century Skills Exemplar. Brengard is a strong advocate for bringing innovative learning approaches to underserved communities.
Tanya Broder is a senior staff attorney at the National Immigration Law Center. She specializes in the laws and policies affecting access to health care, public benefits and education for low-income immigrants across the United States. She holds a juris doctor from Yale Law School and writes articles and policy analyses; provides technical assistance; acts as co-counsel on litigation; and provides training to legal and social service providers, government agencies, legislative staff, and community-based organizations.
Christopher P. Chatmon serves as Deputy Chief of Equity for the Oakland Unified School District and was named as a "Leader to Learn From" by Education Week magazine. Chatmon was selected as a Campaign for Black Male Achievement “Social Innovation Accelerator” because he is committed to improving life outcomes for all youth and especially African American males. Chatmon is passionate about uplifting the African American community and has dedicated his career and life work to creating pathways of success within Oakland and beyond. He motivates educators and community members to engage, encourage, and empower young people regardless of gender or non-gender identity, race, class, or nationality
Boona Cheema, former executive director of Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency, has spent decades immersed in creating opportunities for homeless children, youth and adults so that they may fully access education, housing, healthcare and meaningful work. Her efforts have been widely recognized at the local and national levels.
Vito Chiala is starting his eleventh year as the principal of Overfelt High School in the East Side Union High School District. As principal, Mr. Chiala has formed strong partnerships with educational, political, professional and community organizations in an effort to create opportunities for increased student academic achievement.
Carl Cohn is the first executive director of the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence and a former member of the State Board of Education. Dr. Cohn’s 45-year educational career began as a teacher/counselor in the Compton Unified School District and progressed to superintendent positions in Long Beach and San Diego Unified. He has helped shape the educational leaders of tomorrow as a professor at multiple universities—including the University of Southern California and Harvard. Dr. Cohn is a recognized thought leader in the national educational arena, has presented at dozens of educational conferences and contributed to journal and media articles regarding educational leadership and reform.
Susanna Cooper is managing director of Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research at the University of California, Davis School of Education. She is a senior fellow at the Stuart Foundation, a San Francisco-based philanthropy focused on education and child well-being. She serves as president of EdSource’s Board of Directors, and consults to select clients in the education and child welfare arenas. Previously, Susanna was senior education policy advisor to Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. Legislative initiatives she led include creation of the $500-million Career Pathways Trust; creation of the expert commission that led to California’s adoption of the Common Core Standards; and improvements in public school accountability.
Oscar Cruz is the president and CEO of Families In Schools (FIS), which is dedicated to involving parents in gaining the best possible education for their children. Before becoming president and CEO, Cruz was FIS’ vice president and director of community engagement and advocacy. Prior to FlS, Cruz was program director for Community Partners, directing projects in community technology and civic engagement. He also served as senior program manager at the Center for Civic Education, where he managed an international network of civil society organizations, school districts, universities, and foundations working to implement civic engagement programs for students and youth throughout the United States and Latin America. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and Latin America and served as an official international electoral observer in Mexico’s federal elections (2000 and 2006). He holds a Master of Arts degree in Latin American studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and Latin America studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Xilonin Cruz-Gonzalez is vice president of the Azusa Unified School District Board of Education. In her fifteenth year as a school board member, she believes strongly that the economic success of our country will only truly be achieved through educational equity, and that belief drives her advocacy work. Xilonin currently works for Californians Together, directing their ‘Educator Support for Immigrant and Refugee Students’ project. She also serves on the CSBA Board of Directors, representing the greater San Gabriel Valley. In the past, Xilonin has served as the President of Californians Together and President of the California Latino School Boards Association.
Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, is the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University where she founded the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education and served as the faculty sponsor of the Stanford Teacher Education Program. She currently serves as the chair of California’s Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is past president of the American Educational Research Association and recipient of its awards for Distinguished Contributions to Research, Lifetime Achievement, and Research-to- Policy. She is a member of the American Association of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Education. Among her more than 500 publications are The Right to Learn, Teaching as the Learning Profession and Preparing Teachers for a Changing World.
Mark DiCamillo is Director of the Berkeley IGS Poll, a regularly scheduled non-partisan poll of California public opinion conducted by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at the University of California, Berkeley. IGS is the oldest organized research unit in the UC system. DiCamillo has decades of experience in polling Californians, having served as Director of the highly respected Field Poll for more than twenty years and as Senior Vice President of Field Research Corporation. DiCamillo is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University and holds a Masters in Business Administration from Cornell University’s Johnson School of Business.
Morri Elliott has been the principal of Sacramento Academic & Vocational Academy (SAVA), a grade seven through twelve charter school, since 2012. He was awarded the ACSA Region Three Administrator of the Year for Educational Options in 2016. Morri has a passion for working with at-risk youth and for creating programs to re-engage high school students who have struggled in traditional school settings. He has implemented programs focused on increasing student retention and decreasing the dropout rate. He has also put a focus on creating a positive, collaborative school culture and in 2016 SAVA was recognized by being named a Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School.
John Fensterwald, editor-at-large of EdSource, joined in 2012. Before, he was editor and co-writer for the 'Thoughts on Public Education (TOP-Ed)' website, one of the leading sources of California education policy reporting and opinion, which he founded in 2009. For 11 years before that, John wrote editorials for the Mercury News in San Jose, with a focus on education. He worked as a reporter, news editor and opinion editor for three newspapers in New Hampshire for two decades before receiving a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 1997 and heading West shortly thereafter. His wife is an elementary school teacher and his daughter attends the University California at Davis.
For more than two decades, Louis Freedberg has analyzed and reported on local, state, and national education policy. Before coming to EdSource, Freedberg was the founding director of California Watch at the Center for Investigative Reporting. He spent 15 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he was an award-winning education reporter, Washington correspondent, columnist, and member of the editorial board. He has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in child development from Yale University.
Marciano Gutierrez earned a Masters in Education from Stanford University. He is the lead social studies teacher at Alta Vista High School in Mountain View, CA -- an alternative school that serves students who have been unsuccessful in a traditional high school setting. Gutierrez was selected as the Bay Area Teacher of the Year by the California Continuation Education Association, awarded a Fulbright Study Fellowship to China, and was named a National Teacher Fellow with the Hope Street Group. He served in the Obama Administration as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow. In this role, Marciano advised Secretary Arne Duncan and his senior staff on policy development and implementation.
Ashley Hopkinson is a digital journalist committed to excellent storytelling. Ashley began her career as a crime reporter for The Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama. Since then, she has covered health care, immigration, politics, arts and culture. Ashley earned her undergraduate degree in Journalism from Auburn University while writing for The Birmingham News and The Gadsden Times. Several years later, she earned a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, where she was an instructor in the UC Berkeley Film and Media Department and a senior reporter and producer for Richmond Confidential, a hyperlocal news site in the Bay Area. Ashley has also worked for The Associated Press Bureau in Atlanta and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans. Prior to joining Ed Source, Ashley was the Storytelling Editor for The Desert Sun in Palm Springs.
Kyla Johnson-Trammell is superintendent of Oakland Unified School District. She was was born and raised in East Oakland, attended Montclair Elementary and Montera Middle schools, and spent her entire professional career working in OUSD. Johnson-Trammell has served students in several capacities including: elementary school teacher; middle school assistant principal; elementary school principal; Director of Talent Development; Associate Superintendent for Leadership, Curriculum, and Instruction; Network Superintendent and, most recently, as Interim Deputy Superintendent. She has a BA from University of Pennsylvania and an EdD, Educational Leadership from University of California, Berkeley.
Carolyn Jones covers math and science education for EdSource. She was a reporter for 17 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she covered the environment, Oakland city hall and other beats. She received the 2011 Harold Gilliam Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting for stories about the economic impact of environmental restoration, as well as numerous awards for feature writing from the East Bay Press Club. She also covered health care for the Oakland Tribune and education for both the Hayward Daily Review and Sonora Union Democrat. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley in English and lives in Oakland with her two kids.
Michael Kirst, president of the State Board of Education, is a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University. Prior to joining the Stanford University faculty in 1969, Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including staff director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty, and director of program planning for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Office of Education. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education, and has served as the board’s president since his reappointment in 2011. His latest books are, From High School to College with Andrea Venezia (2004) and Political Dynamics of American Education (2009). Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard.
As superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, Dr. Vincent Matthews serves as the top executive of the eighth largest school district in California. A native of San Francisco, Matthews earned his Bachelor of Arts, teaching credential and doctorate in education from San Francisco State University. Early in his career as an educator he taught at George Washington Carver Elementary School and served as principal at Alvarado Elementary School. Matthews was previously the superintendent of Inglewood USD and of San Jose USD, where he is credited with raising academic achievement, narrowing the achievement gap between Latino and white students, and passing landmark agreements with the San Jose teacher’s union.
Margie McHugh is director of the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, a national hub for leaders in government, community affairs, business and academia to obtain the knowledge they need to respond to the challenges and opportunities that today’s high rates of immigration pose for communities across the United States. Ms. McHugh’s work focuses on education quality and access issues for immigrants and their children from early childhood through K-12 and adult, post-secondary and workforce skills programs. She also leads the Center’s work seeking a more coordinated federal response to immigrant integration, and more workable systems for recognition of the education and work experience of immigrants.
Hanna Melnick is a member of Learning Policy Institute’s Early Childhood Education and Deeper Learning teams, with a focus on California policy. She is the lead author of Encouraging Social and Emotional Learning In the Context of New Accountability. Melnick taught for four years as a Teach for America corps member in San Jose USD and later in an Aspire Public School in East Palo Alto. After leaving the classroom, she worked for Berkeley USD and Pivot Learning Partners on issues related to the Local Control Funding Formula. She holds an M.P.P. from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a B.A. from Harvard University.
L. Karen Monroe is Alameda County’s Superintendent of Schools, elected to lead the programs, services, and initiatives at the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE). Since taking office in January 2015, Superintendent Monroe has worked to position the ACOE as a model of social justice in action. Her experience as an educational leader and administrator includes serving as: the Bay Area liaison for A Better Chance; a founder of the non-profit Educational Technology Training Institute; a teacher, and an award-winning principal in Oakland. Karen holds a degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California and a teaching credential from Holy Names University.
Pedro Noguera is Distinguished Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Sciences at UCLA. His research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions and demographic trends. He is the author of eleven books and over 200 articles and monographs. He serves on the boards of numerous national and local organizations and appears as a regular commentator on educational issues on CNN, MSNBC, National Public Radio, and other national news outlets. Prior to joining UCLA he served as a tenured professor and holder of endowed chairs at New York University, Harvard University and UC Berkeley. In 2014 he was elected to the National Academy of Education.
Dr. Vincent Pompei is the director of the Youth Well-Being Project for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to LGBTQ equality. Previously, he was the project director for the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership, and spent over ten years as a middle school teacher and high school counselor in California’s public schools. Dr. Pompei also served as president for the California Association of School Counselors and authored the LGBTQ section of the American School Counselor Association’s National Model®. Additionally, he was one of four public educators invited to the first White House Anti-Bullying Summit. Dr. Pompei was acknowledged by the National Education Association as a Classroom Superhero.
Glen Price serves as a chief deputy for State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson at the California Department of Education. His most recent work supporting major statewide education initiatives includes facilitating and coordinating the development of: Blueprint for Great Schools; Greatness by Design; California Comprehensive Early Learning Plan; CDE Afterschool Division Strategic Plan; California Labor Management Initiative, and others. Glen has been the principal leader for efforts that have raised over $1 billion dollars for the capital, program, and strategic planning needs of public and private agencies. Glen’s work in public education includes two terms as an elected board member of the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
Zitlaly Ramirez is 2017 graduate of Alta Vista High School, in Mountain View, CA and the winner of the inaugural Edward Hamm Memorial Scholarship. She is currently pursuing her Medical Assistant Certification at the Mountain View Los Altos Adult School. After finishing the program she hopes to continue her education in order to become a Registered Nurse. Zitlaly shares that, “Graduating from Alta Vista High School, has played a significant role in my decision to enter into the medical field, because unlike the traditional high school I attended, Alta Vista allowed me to discover what kind of student I am. Thanks to the way my school and classes were organized, I had the ability to work at my own pace, making it easier to find what works best for me. Additionally, the entire staff at Alta Vista are truly dedicated individuals who posses the passion and drive that every teacher should have. This inspired me to strive for a career in which I could help others”.
Russell Rumberger is a professor in the Department of Education, University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on: education and work; the schooling of disadvantaged students, particularly school dropouts and linguistic minority students; and school effectiveness. He has served on three National Research Council committees. He co-authored the USDOE Dropout Prevention Practice Guide (2008). He is author of Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It (Harvard University Press, 2011). He currently directs the California Dropout Research Project. He received a Ph.D. in Education and a M.A. in Economics from Stanford University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie-Mellon University.
Sam Seider teaches AP Chemistry and Chemistry at Oakland High and has also gained experience as a public health instructor. Previously, he taught secondary science as part of a 2-year commitment to Teach For America. While teaching at Richmond High School, he earned his secondary science teaching credential from Loyola Marymount University. Upon successful completion of the Americorps program, he was awarded recognition for double-digit percentage increases in chemistry state test scores at RHS with the Segal Education Award. The funds received from the award partially funded his Master’s degree in Urban Education. Since earning his graduate degree, Sam has continued to hold professional leadership roles in diverse communities.
Araceli Simeón is an education advocate with expertise in parent engagement and leadership development. She is the Project Director for the Parent Organization Network (PON) which strengthens the abilities of culturally diverse and underserved parents to be leaders, supports their local initiatives and advocacy efforts, and connects them to a network of advocates. Prior to PON, Araceli worked for a decade at MALDEF directing its national Parent School Partnership (PSP) program. In 2016, Araceli was appointed by the State Board of Education to the California Practitioners Advisory Group. She graduated summa cum laude from the California State Polytechnic University at Pomona and received her Master’s degree in Public Policy from USC.
Marcus L. Strother is the coordinator of youth development at Sacramento City Unified School District and a father, husband, educator and a youth and community advocate. Strother is a 20-year veteran in the education field. He spent eight years as a classroom teacher and nine years as a high school administrator with a focus on teacher evaluation, school culture and discipline. In his current role, Marcus oversees expanded learning, summer programming and work with boys and girls of color.
Prior to joining EdSource, George provided editing and reporting services as a consultant at three organizations – New America Media, the Center for Educational Improvement and Robert L. Green & Associates. As editor and lead writer for the Green & Associates education consulting team, George coauthored and edited “Expect the Most – Provide the Best,” a 2014 Scholastic Inc. book on best educational practices and contributed to “A Call for Change,” a 2012 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt anthology on education reform. George covered education issues for New America Media and the Center for Educational Improvement. Previously, George managed the UCLA Center for Communications and Community, an institute that helped news organizations and nonprofits engage communities. Also, as editor of the UCLA center’s website, he managed reports on issues related to education, health and community development. George joined the UCLA center after 11 years as an editor and reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He was a member of the reporting teams that earned Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake. In addition, his 1995 exposés on a Thai sweatshop slavery ring in El Monte, Ca. helped prompt national reforms in the U.S. apparel and retail industries. George earned a M.A. in African history and a B.A. in journalism at Michigan State University
Consuelo Zuluaga has been working with homeless youth for more than a decade. As program coordinator for San Leandro Unified School District, she is responsible for providing support and resources to students experiencing housing insecurity. Her personal mission is to help eliminate barriers to education for homeless children and youth, with dignity and personalization. She is a member of The National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY).