Youth and Community Forum: Reimagine Education

Co-sponsors: The California Endowment and Stuart Foundation
Co-conveners: Californians for Justice

Freed from the constraints created by No Child Left Behind (NCLB), school districts now have greater flexibility to enact strategies that motivate and engage students, that promote deeper learning and higher order thinking, and that address their social and emotional needs. With this flexibility comes great expectations that educators make school systems spaces for relationship building and learning experiences relevant to who students are and who they want to be.

Join us for an open dialogue among students, educators, community members and policymakers:

How do we ensure that young people regardless of race or zip code can reach their full potential?

What vision do youth have for a school system that can change lives and transform communities?

3:00-4:00 p.m. Registration

4:00-4:10 p.m. Welcome

4:10-4:50 p.m. Youth Panel

4:50-5:30 p.m. Adult Respondents

5:30-5:50 p.m. Audience Questions

5:50-6:00 p.m. Closing remarks

6:00 p.m. Reception

Click here to download the Powerpoint deck for the forum.


James Anderson

James Anderson is the Co-Founder of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), one of California’s leading criminal justice organizations. An organization he holds close to his heart as it has provided the opportunity to work with countless people returning into society for prison. He is deeply involved in policy work throughout the nation and has become a highly recognized leader. In July of 2014, James was appointed to the State Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (SAC JJDP) by the Governor of California, Jerry Brown. He is an an expert in various human rights issues and has met with high-ranking political officials, including President Barack Obama. One of his key messages is that it is never too late for someone to change. His new focus is now on social entrepreneurship, which is where the idea of Los Mayores was born – a Latino clothing line looking to create impact through new mediums while recirculating wealth back into communities.

Dr. Joseph Bishop

Dr. Joseph Bishop is the Director of the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) at UCLA. Before UCLA, Bishop was a senior policy advisor with the Learning Policy Institute. Bishop oversaw the organization’s school resourcing portfolio and supported state efforts to address teaching shortages and build quality early care and education systems. Bishop has held a number of national and state education leadership positions including Director of Policy with the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign; Executive Director of Opportunity Action; founding co-chair of the Coalition for Teaching Quality, a 100 plus national membership group; Director of Strategic Initiatives with the Partnership for 21st Century Learning; Director of Education for the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials Educational Fund and was formerly a governor-appointed member of the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

Bishop has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Policy and Organizations from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Alex Caputo-Pearl

Mr. Alex Caputo-Pearl is a teacher at Frida Kahlo High School and President of United Teachers of Los Angeles. United Teachers of Los Angeles is the main representative of certified, non-administrative staff in Los Angeles Unified School District which currently holds over 35,000 members.

Mr. Caputo-Pearl has been teaching for 22 years and has over 25 years of experience in labor and community organizing at the local, state and national campaigning level. Alex is also a co-founder of the Extended Learning Cultural Model. The Extended Learning Cultural Model is a nationally-recognized school improvement model that brings educators, unions, parents, communities, universities, youth organizations and national institutes together behind a model that connects in-the-classroom learning to outside-the-classroom internships, community advocacy and small business development.

Mr. Alex Caputo-Pearl earned a BA in Political Science at Brown University and an MA in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA.


Dr. Carl Cohn

Dr. Carl A. Cohn, is the executive director of California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE). CCEE is a California agency tasked with advising and assisting student achievement across the state through the new Local Control and Accountability Plans.

As the executive director, Dr. Cohn works collaboratively with State Superintendent of Public Instruction and with the 58 county superintendents across the state in supporting school districts accomplish the goals stated in their Local Control Accountability Plans. Dr. Cohn’s 45-year educational career began as a teacher/counselor in the Compton Unified School District. He then served as superintendent for school districts in Long Beach and San Diego Unified School Districts. Throughout his career, 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 throughout the United States and contributed to journal and media articles regarding educational leadership and reform.

Dr. Carl Cohn graduated from St. John’s College afterwhich, he obtained a masters degree in counseling from Chapman University and his EdD in administrative and policy studies from UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Dr. Debra Duardo

Dr. Debra Duardo was appointed Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors effective May 15, 2016, making her the top education leader of the nation’s most populous and diverse county.

Dr. Duardo has more than 20 years of professional experience working with at-risk students and their families. Her unique life experience as a high school dropout able to overcome obstacles and rise to the position of executive director drives her passion to ensure that all students receive an education in a safe, caring environment and that every student is college-prepared and career ready. Dr. Duardo also serves as a City Commissioner on the Commission for Community and Family Services and is a chairperson for the National Dropout Prevention Network Board of Directors.

Dr. Debra Duardo holds a master’s degree in social work from the UCLA School of Social Work and a doctorate from UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Taryn Ishida

Ms. Taryn Ishida is the executive director of the grassroots organization Californians For Justice (CFJ). For over ten years, Taryn has been supporting CFJ to actualize its mission of racial justice by building the power of youth, communities of color, immigrants, low-income families, and LGBTQ communities. As executive director, she provides leadership in program and campaign strategy, development and outreach, alliance building and policy, and management and operations.

Ms. Ishida received her Masters of Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco and holds a B.A. in Sociology from Pepperdine University.

Kelly Kent

Dr. Kelly Kent is an educator, parent volunteer and former city commissioner elected to the Culver City Unified School Board in 2015.

Dr. Kent completed her PhD in Neuroscience at University of Southern California and has taught at Antioch University and Moorpark College. Dr. Kent also co-founded adaptED Consultants where she provides brain-based teacher and workplace professional development, parent education and student enrichment.

Dr. Kelly Kent received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University.

Draquari McGhee

Draquari McGhee is a student leader in the grassroots organization Californians for Justice. Draquari empowers his peers to become educated and involved in eradicating racial injustice within their community. As a student leader and activist, Draquari has participated, organized and led several rallies with Californians for Justice and Fresno’s chapter of Black Lives Matter. He believes that racism within school is one of the most significant barriers that students encounter throughout their lifetime and hopes to start a Black-led Racial Justice organization to improve the lives of Black people in America.

Draquari is a current undergraduate student at San Joaquin Valley College.

Guadalupe Navarro

Guadalupe Navarro is a student leader in the grassroots organization Californians for Justice. Guadalupe empowers her peers to become educated and involved in eradicating racial injustice within her community.

Guadalupe currently a sophomore at James Lick High School and plans to study law at UC Davis.

Dr. Pedro Noguera

Pedro A. Noguera is a Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA and founder of the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) at UCLA. His scholarship and research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions and demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts.

Dr. Noguera serves on the board 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 the faculty at UCLA, he served as the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University and the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools, the Judith K. Dimon Professor of Communities and Schools at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley where he was also the Director of the Institute for the Study of Social Change. From 2009 – 2012 he served as a Trustee for the State University of New York (SUNY) as an appointee of the Governor. In 2014 he was elected to the National Academy of Education. Noguera recently received awards from the Center for the Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences, the National Association of Secondary Principals, and the McSilver Institute at NYU for his research and advocacy efforts aimed at fighting poverty.

Dr. Pedro Noguera received his bachelors’ and master’s degree from Brown University and earned his doctorate in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Jordyn-Samir Saunders

Jordyn-Samir Saunders is a student leader in the grassroots organization Californians for Justice. As a mixed-race person with an Islamic background, Jordyn has experienced prejudice and discrimination on many different levels. He teaches his peers how race and ethnicity impact the educational experiences of young people.

Jordyn is a senior at Long Beach Polytechnic High School and will be applying to UC Berkeley for his bachelor’s degree.