Carol Hedgspeth, Ph.D.

Deputy Director

Carol (she/her/hers) started her career in academia in the late 1990s, teaching various core college courses in departments of Psychology and Education on the East Coast. She is also a seasoned education researcher, having worked for the past 25 years at various education advocacy and social science research firms, including Innovate Public Schools, WestEd, Cogent Integrations, LLC., the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), and American Institutes for Research. The through line for those varied professional experiences focuses on understanding the optimal conditions for learning, particularly for learners who have been historically marginalized and disenfranchised.

Most recently, Carol served as the Vice President of Talent and Operations at Innovate Public Schools, an education advocacy nonprofit in San Jose. She focused on organizational strategy, policy oversight, staffing, and leadership development. Her most recent accomplishments have included creating internal structures to foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and belongingness in a multi-region, multi-team, multi-level organization; maintaining and enhancing talent recruitment and management strategies so that they are inclusive at every step; and managing day-to-day operations to support staff, boost effectiveness, and identify and root out processes, systems, and structures where inequities are harbored.

Carol received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and M.S. in Social Psychology from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and her B.S. in Psychology (minoring jointly in Women’s Studies and African American Studies) from the University of California at Berkeley.


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  • Oakland, CA
College Access
Student Success Data
Educator Diversity
Multilingual Learners / English Learners
Research & Data Analysis

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.