The Education Trust – West Applauds Governor Brown for Nominating Feliza Licon-Ortiz to the State Board of Education


The Education Trust – West Applauds Governor Brown for Nominating Feliza Licon-Ortiz to the State Board of Education

OAKLAND, CA (April 13, 2015) Ryan J. Smith, on behalf of The Education Trust—West, issued the following statement in response to Governor Brown’s recent nominations to the State Board of Education:

“We congratulate Feliza Ortiz-Licon and applaud Governor Brown for nominating an expert with a track record of fighting for the 1.4 million English learners in California schools. In a state where 45 percent of Californians speak a language other than English at home and nearly 1 out of 4 students is learning English, such an appointment is vital to our state’s success. With her experience at National Council of La Raza and work supporting English learners at the local, state, and national levels, Ortiz-Licon will bring a wealth of experience and a much-needed perspective to the State Board of Education and we fully support her nomination.

Earlier this year, The Ed Trust – West coordinated a diverse coalition of civil rights, social justice, and English learner organizations to urge the Governor to appoint a dedicated advocate for English learners who understands the families and communities these children come from. In partnership with ACLU of California,  Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Los Angeles, CARECEN – Los Angeles, California Association for Bilingual Education, California Latino Schools Boards Association, Californians for Justice, Californians Together, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), Educators 4 Excellence – Los Angeles, Fresno Center of New Americans, GEMAS, InnerCity Struggle, Parent Institute for Quality Education, Public Advocates, Inc., Public Counsel, Reading and Beyond, The Civil Rights Project at UCLA, United Way of the Bay Area, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, and United Ways of California, The Ed Trust – West sent a letter to Governor Brown outlining the necessity of nominating such an individual.

We are thrilled that the Governor has recognized the importance of nominating an English learner advocate and taken such a crucial step forward in the work of ensuring all of California’s students have the resources they need to achieve at high levels. This is a big win for our kids, our state, and for the countless organizations, community advocates, and parents fighting for equity in education.

We also congratulate Ting Lan Sun and support her nomination to the State Board of Education. Sun’s broad range of experience will be an asset to the Board as they continue to work on ensuring a high-quality education for every child in California that prepares them well for college and career.”


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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.