Dr. Mayra A. Lara
Senior Practice Associate
At a young age, Dr. Mayra A. Lara immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her parents and sister. They made Los Angeles their home and filled their lives with books, magazines, and newspapers. Reading became the way her parents engaged her and her siblings in lively conversations, a practice that made attending school as an undocumented person a much more manageable experience. With support from her parents, siblings, and mentors, Mayra became the first person in her family to be admitted and graduate from a university. Her lived experience coupled with her academic journey fueled her interest to work in education.
Mayra began her career in the classroom as an English teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. While at the district, she worked to create meaningful and lasting relationships with students and families. She carries her love for teaching and the young people with whom she worked to The Education Trust-West in work as a Senior Practice Associate. Mayra was drawn to ETW because of its focus on racial equity, supporting low income students, and purposeful engagement with communities.
As a qualitative researcher, Mayra works closely with County Offices of Education, school districts and schools, helping shape meaningful policies and practices which will have lasting, positive impacts on students. She also leads ETW’s college and career readiness work, with specific focus on underrepresented students of color, low-income students and emergent bilingual students. This specific area of her work marries personal experience with a professional passion embedded in a desire to see young people having a humanizing educational experience.
Mayra holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis of Education from California State University Long Beach. Mayra also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University where her research focused on young women of color’s experiences as they navigated the sexual politics of education.