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We are excited to announce the Education Trust–West’s 2022-23 Educator Advisory Council (EAC)! We were honored to receive over 50 applications from talented and passionate educators. Below, you will meet six returning members from our previous cohorts and five new Educator Advisory Council members comprising our third cohort.

The goal of the Council is to integrate the voices and experiences of educators of color into the issues, policies, and practices of California’s current preschool through higher education landscape, as well as offer feedback on Ed Trust–West’s current and future projects, comment on our policy and legislative positions, and advocate in their respective communities for educational justice. The Council meets to engage with one another, with Ed Trust–West staff, and offer insights into our work by providing invaluable input based on classroom and campus practices. Congratulations and thank you for being a part of our work!

2022-23 Cohort 3

Catherine Jermany (she/her) is a higher education professional who currently serves as the Program Director of the Black Resource Center at California State University, Dominguez Hills. In addition, she teaches part-time in the Africana Studies Department at both California State University, Dominguez Hills and California State University, Northridge. Catherine has over seven years of professional experience within the area of student affairs and has held various student services roles within the functional areas of advising, financial aid, student life, and multicultural affairs. Catherine is a proud first-generation college student who began her journey at Santa Rosa Junior College where she earned her A.A. in social and behavioral sciences. She then went on to earn both her Bachelor’s in child and adolescent development and Master’s in counseling with a concentration in college counseling/student services from California State University, Northridge, and will be completing her Ed.D. in higher education administration from The University of Southern Mississippi in December 2022. Catherine looks forward to learning more about policies that address diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in higher education and is excited to continue her advocacy work through her role with The Education Trust-West’s Advisory Council.

 

Dr. Erica Silva (she/her/ella) is the Associate Director of K-12 Programs at the USC Race & Equity Center where she coordinates and leads professional development with schools and districts across the country to advance racial equity within their organizations. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the USC Rossier School of Education where she teaches courses for pre-service teachers on instructional technology and educational equity in the Master of Arts in teaching program. Dr. Silva holds a doctorate in K-12 educational leadership from the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California, an M.A. in urban education from Loyola Marymount University and a B.A. in political science from USC. Erica has worked for the past decade as a teacher in both elementary and middle school, and as an instructional specialist where she trained and worked with teachers on district-wide curriculum implementation, assessment development, technology integration, and culturally-responsive pedagogy. She is passionate about bridging the gap between policy, research and practice and addressing the racial equity challenges that exist within K-12 education.

Twitter: @doctorasilva

 

Joshua Salas (he/him/his) has always been a learner and advocate at heart. He began his journey at UC Santa Barbara, where he pursued studies in sociology & global studies. Being passionate about politics and the world around him, as a first-generation Black Guamanian, Josh was involved in educational justice and racial equity. He then pursued his Master’s in sociology, where he decided that academia wasn’t for him. Still wanting to work in education, Josh joined Teach for America Los Angeles, where he chose special education, inspired by his personal experience as well as his family’s involvement with IEPs. Inspired by his time with his students, he then graduated with a second Master’s in special education. Now entering his 4th year teaching special education, and his second year at Alliance Renee and Meyer Luskin Academy, Josh works to address systemic inequities inside and outside of his classroom. In his pursuit to grow and uplift the voices of the most vulnerable students, Josh is dedicated to center students and families in his work and in all spaces. Alongside his department lead position, he also co-advises the Black Student Union and supports Teach Plus as a Senior Fellow. When he is not teaching, he loves spending time with his loved ones, traveling to new places, or reading new books.

Twitter: @mr_jsalas

 

Natali Gaxiola (she/her) is an early childhood educator at Lennox School District. She earned an Associate of Arts degree in early childhood education from El Camino College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from California State University Dominguez Hills. She currently holds a teacher’s permit from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and has been teaching in the Lennox State Preschool Program for twenty years. Her background in psychology and experience in the classroom have equipped her with strategies and teaching methods that support the development of the whole child. She believes in finding innovative ways of teaching and has found partnerships, which facilitate consistent improvements in her pedagogy. She has been trained by the UCLA Mathematics Project with research-based teaching methods which have led her to be featured on the Teaching Channel, present at the CMC South Conference, participate as a collaborating author of the book Choral Counting & Counting Collections: Transforming the PreK-5 math classroom, and present at the CGI Biennial Conference. In June of 2019, she was named Los Angeles County 12th Annual Early Educator of the Year. In January2020 Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon appointed her to the California Early Childhood Policy Council. She was also named Employee of the Year for the Lennox School District for the 2021-2022 school year. She has a passion for learning and teaching. Natali also believes that a strong connection between home, school, and community is the most powerful element that leads to the overall success of a child.

Twitter: @gaxiola_natali

 

Rasheeda Turner-Dickens (she/her) is a kindergarten teacher at Head-Royce School. She is a student advocate, who is committed to partnering with students and families to create vibrant learning spaces that promote a student’s thinking, reflect their personal interests and multiple identities. As an educator for nearly two decades, having worked in both public and private schools, she has held positions as a teacher, dean, coach, trainer, and advisor. Rasheeda is a third-generation college graduate. She earned a Master’s in education from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Science degree in health science from San Francisco State University. She always makes time to create memorable experiences with family and friends, listen to live music and try new cuisines. Rasheeda is excited to join the Educator Advisory Council and looks forward to working towards expanding equitable education systems for all students.

 

2022-23 Returning Members

Dr. Amber Bradley (she/her/hers) is a social science teacher, who has been gaining knowledge about the workings of our public schools for the past nine years. She strives to build classroom community and help schools develop a path to creating safe learning spaces for all students. In her doctoral research, she studied school districts that began moving away from law enforcement and toward community-based models to ensure a positive learning environment and campus safety. Dr. Bradley earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership and a Master’s in Government from California State University Sacramento, and her Bachelor’s degree in political science from the State University of New York at Purchase.

Twitter: @dramberbradley

Andre ChenFeng (he/him/his) is an advocate for healing-centered education. He is a Ph.D. student at Claremont Graduate University, with a focus on integrating contemplative practices and intersectional feminist theories into higher education, specifically around liberation-based healing with educators of color. He is also an adjunct faculty member at CGU in the Teacher Education Program. Andre received his Associate of Arts from Pasadena City College and his Bachelor’s and Master’s of education from the University of California, Los Angeles. He taught seventh and eighth-grade mathematics for twelve years in Los Angeles. In his spare time, he watches This Is Us with his wife and enjoys reading books about big feelings with his son and daughter.

 

Dr. Manuel Rustin (he/him) is a high school social science teacher enjoying his nineteenth year in the classroom. He currently teaches Ethnic Studies and Intro to Education at John Muir High School Early College Magnet in Pasadena, CA. In addition to teaching, Dr. Rustin serves as Vice Chair of the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission and is a Teach Plus California Teaching Policy Fellow. Dr. Rustin is a recipient of the Milken Educator Award as well as the Pasadena NAACP Ruby McKnight Educator Award. He earned his Doctorate in educational leadership at UCLA and received his Master’s in teaching and curriculum at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Twitter @Rustin3000

Meghann Seril (she/her) is a third-grade teacher in the Mandarin Immersion program at Broadway Elementary in Venice, CA. She serves United Teachers Los Angeles as a House of Representatives member and is Teach Plus National Senior Research Fellow. Meghann earned her credential and Master’s in teaching from the University of Southern California. She is a National Board Certified teacher and new teacher mentor. She was recognized as a 2022 LAUSD Teacher of the Year. When Meghann is not in the classroom, she enjoys baking, traveling, and listening to podcasts.

Twitter: @megpseril

Rubén González (he/him/él) is proudly from Greenfield, California, a first-generation college student, and the son of Mexican immigrants. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE) program at Stanford University. He is also earning a Master’s degree in sociology. His research interests focus on the sociopolitical disposition and action of students and teachers of color. He dedicates his work to improving the K-12 schooling experiences of Black, Indigenous, all students of color, and other marginalized youth. Prior to pursuing his graduate studies, Rubén taught high school English, English Language Development, and AVID in Sacramento, California. Rubén also worked with immigrant and multilingual Latinx youth as an academic tutor in classroom and after-school settings. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in English at Sacramento State University after transferring from Hartnell College. In local community settings, Rubén has organized with the Association of Raza Educators (ARE) Sacramento, and Ethnic Studies Now (ESN) Sacramento and Elk Grove.

 Twitter: @_rugonzalez

Tayo Enna (he/him/his) has been teaching Kindergarten at [email protected] for the past sixteen years. He grew up in Santa Cruz, CA. He received his Associate of Arts degree from San Jose City College, went on to receive his Bachelor’s in social science, and a Master’s in educational leadership from San Jose State University. Tayo is the co-founder of the Black Educators Coalition, committed to the recruitment and retention of BIPOC in education. He created the “How to Raise an Antiracist Family” parent workshops, designed to have conversations centered around recognizing and demonstrating what it means to be anti-racist parents. Tayo is Oak Grove School District’s 2021 Teacher of the Year, and recipient of the 49ers Foundation’s Teacher of the Game. During his time away from school, Tayo loves spending time with his wife and their two daughters.

Twitter: @MrEnna79
Dr. Mayra A. Lara

Dr. Mayra A. Lara

Associate Director of Educator Engagement

At a young age, Dr. Mayra A. Lara (she/her/ella) immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her parents…

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