Dr. Tyrone Howard, Faculty Director

Tyrone C. Howard is the Faculty Director of the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) at UCLA and a professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies’ at UCLA. Dr. Howard is also the inaugural director of the new UCLA Pritzker Center for Strengthening Children and Families, which is a campus wide consortium examining academic, mental health, and social emotional experiences and challenges for the California’s most vulnerable youth populations. He is the founder and director of the UCLA Black Male Institute.  Professor Howard’s research examines equity, culture, race, teaching and learning.

Twitter: @TyroneCHoward

Dr. Joseph Bishop, Center Director

Dr. Bishop directs the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) in the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA. He has held a number of state and national educational leadership positions with the Learning Policy Institute, the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign with the Schott Foundation for Public Education, Opportunity Action, the Coalition for Teaching Quality, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. He was formerly a governor-appointed member of the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) and served on the Board of Directors for the Center for Teaching Quality. Dr. Bishop has been featured in a number of digital and print media sources, including National Public Radio, the Washington Post, Ed Source and Education Week.

His scholarship explores the relationship between education policy and its impact on educational equity, racial justice and social justice efforts on topics including community schools, early childhood education, teacher shortages and teacher professional learning, school finance, school climate and school discipline reform.

Dr. Bishop earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership, Policy and Organizations from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Twitter: @joepbishop

Dr. Kai Mathews, Project Director

Dr. Mathews is the MTSS project director at the Center for the Transformation of Schools at UCLA. She is an educator, researcher, and creative strategist who is passionate about innovative reforms and practices in K-12 education. She has over 10 years of practical work and research experience with students, teachers, and administrators in various school districts around the country. Most notably she has worked as a Coordinator for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), was a researcher for the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education, and worked as an 8th grade Humanities teacher at High Tech High in San Diego. Her areas of expertise and passion include educational equity, culturally responsive teaching and learning, Project Based Learning (PBL), Universal Design for Learning (UDL), Blended Learning (BL) and design thinking. Dr. Mathews has a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies with a specialization in K-12 education from the University of San Diego, an M.A. in Communication from Ellis University, and a B.A. in English with a minor in Creative Writing from Spelman College.


Dr. Angela James, Senior Researcher

Angela James, Ph.D. is a Senior Researcher with CTS. Dr. James is a seasoned scholar, sociologist, consultant, and ardent community organizer/activist who has devoted her professional life studying poverty and inequality and her personal life to working to eradicate it. She most recently was the Deputy Director at the Los Angeles Community Action Network, a local civil rights organization. She was a faculty member in African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and is returning home to UCLA after previously serving in a leadership role at Graduate Division at UCLA.


Geneva Sum, Communications Director

Geneva has a background in design and art direction for branding, marketing & communications, and has worked with corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations across a wide range of industries. She manages the Center’s branding, communications strategy, and social media presence. Geneva has extensive experience working with marginalized youth around the world, having mentored and led creativity-based workshops for teen and young adult group homes in Los Angeles, a girls education program in Bangladesh, and Syrian refugee youth in Beirut. Geneva holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Northeastern University in Boston, MA and a certificate from the Los Angeles Center of Photography.



Dr. Stanley L. Johnson, Jr., Project Director

Dr. Stanley L. Johnson, Jr. is the National Science Foundation (NSF) Project Director and an educational consultant, researcher, and practitioner with an extensive background in K-12 leadership, teacher education, and language and literacy development. Johnson previously served as consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education (in School Improvement, District Capacity Building, and Curriculum and Instructional Services) and a Managing Director of Teacher Leadership Development for Teach for America where he supported and built capacity with Program Improvement schools and districts in the areas of effective language arts instruction and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) through professional development, coaching, and providing technical assistance to educational leaders and classroom teachers. Johnson was the Founding Principal of the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School in Oakland, CA and he began his career in education through Teach for America, where he taught all levels of English/Language Arts and Advanced Placement English at Centennial High School in Compton, CA. Johnson was awarded a promotion to Program Coordinator, a district office administrative position in curriculum and instruction, after successfully serving as Centennial’s Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Self-Study Chairperson and getting the school’s accreditation reinstated.

With respect to academic research, Johnson critically examines effective secondary English teachers who implement culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogical and instructional practices in their classrooms to close literacy gaps and address the academic, social, and emotional needs of their students. Johnson is particularly interested in how Advanced Placement English teachers facilitate high levels of engagement for their high achieving boys of color (and especially African American males) by ensuring that they have access and exposure to language and literacies of power.

Johnson received his Ph.D. in Urban Schooling from the Graduate School of Education & Information Studies at UCLA, his Master of Arts in Secondary Education along with clear teaching and administrative credentials from Loyola Marymount University, and his Bachelor of Arts in American Literature and Culture with college honors from UCLA.


Gabriela Corona Valencia, Doctoral Researcher

Gabriela Corona Valencia is a doctoral candidate at GSE&IS in the division of Social Science Comparative Education. She specializes in research pertaining to race and ethnic studies. Prior to her doctoral trajectory, Gabriela obtained her MA in Education from the same department. She completed her BA in Chicana/o/x Studies with a minor in Anthropology at CSU Dominguez Hills. As a Ronald E. McNair scholar at CSU Dominguez Hills, Gabriela completed two summer research programs at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Virginia. Her dissertation research highlights the ways in which eugenicist ideologies have influenced the development and implementation of contemporary sex education curricula and initiatives in K-12 public schools across South and East Los Angeles. She combines historical and qualitative methodologies in order to trace the evolution of a violence that has disproportionately affected the holistic well-being of Black and Girls of Color in disenfranchised communities. Her additional research interests include community and civic engagement, critical race feminisms, and body politics. In addition to her research appointment at CTS, she collaborates and supports the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o/x and Central American Studies as a Teaching Associate. She also collaborates with other Critical Race Scholars at the Center for Critical Race Studies in Education (CCRSE) on campus.


Julio Alicea, Doctoral Researcher

Julio Angel Alicea is a PhD Student in Urban Schooling at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. His primary research interests focus on the intersection of race, place, and educational inequality and the ways in which place-based reforms can combat concentrated disadvantage in communities of color. Prior to entering his doctoral studies, Julio taught social studies at an urban charter high school in Rhode Island and taught college courses on Urban and Social Justice Education in the Community Development Program at the Roger Williams University School of Continuing Studies. While in Rhode Island, Julio extended his social justice work beyond educational spaces by serving on the board of the New Leaders Council, a progressive leadership organization, and volunteering his time as a member of the Ten Men Project, an advocacy initiative of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence. He has also worked to engage the larger educational community by speaking at conferences, writing op-eds, guest-lecturing in teacher preparation programs, leading professional development workshops, and serving as a Rhode Island Teaching Policy Fellow. Julio holds an M.A.T. from Brown University and a B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology from Swarthmore College.


Lorena Camargo Gonzalez, Doctoral Researcher

Lorena Camargo Gonzalez is a Ph.D. student in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education program with a Race and Ethnic Studies specialization within the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Lorena’s research interests include race, racism and micro-aggressions in education, issues concerning access and equity for Students of Color in higher education, and representations of People of Color in children’s books and young adult literature. Her current research focuses on developing and utilizing a Critical Race Content Analysis Guide to explore the visual and textual representations of Latinas/os/x in children’s picture books. Lorena also serves as a research associate for the Center for Critical Race Studies in Education at UCLA. She received her master’s degree in education from CSU Long Beach where she was a CSU Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar and holds a bachelor’s degree in Ethnic Studies with a concentration on Chicana/o/x Studies from CSU Sacramento.


Miguel Casar, Doctoral Researcher

Miguel Casar is a Ph.D. student in the Urban Schooling program at UCLA. Before beginning his studies, Miguel worked as a senior education specialist for Cambridge Education. His work focused primarily on supporting schools to redefine their role and relationship with their communities, empowering diverse stakeholders with tools and avenues to participate actively and critically in the life of their schools, developing culturally and developmentally responsive and emotionally literate educational environments and curriculum, and building sustainable capacity for development and improvement. Miguel has worked internationally on community development and leadership projects and co-founded a non-profit in Mexico, Unidos Somos Iguales Cuernavaca, with the aim to use education and friendship as authentic avenues for dismantling social barriers and stigmas. His previous studies are in Clinical Psychology with research experience in Behavioral Neuroscience. Additionally, Miguel participates actively in organizations that fight for justice and equity in schools, the protection of the environment, and seek to challenge and redefine ideological constructs and narratives that are having a profound and irrevocable impact on our schools, our communities, and our planet.

Twitter: @dialogue_4peace

Shena Sanchez, Doctoral Researcher

Shena Sanchez is a Ph.D. candidate in Urban Schooling at UCLA. She is the founder of the Lavender Girls Project, a mentoring and research group—for and with urban adolescent Girls of Color—that explores their K-12 experiences and postsecondary aspirations. The Lavender Girls Project is grounded in educational justice, Womanism, and an ethic of love and care, where the voices and narratives of Girls of Color are centered. Shena uses Critical Race Feminisms to examine the ways in which policies and practices are racialized, gendered, and classed to create adverse learning conditions for Girls or Color. Shena completed her master’s degree in international education policy from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University and her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Roanoke College.

Felicia Graham, Doctoral Researcher

Felicia is a PhD student in Social Science & Comparative Education at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, where her scholarship and teaching focus on Civics Education and Engagement, and Global Decolonizing Curriculum movements in LA and beyond. Prior to joining UCLA Felicia taught Global Studies to high school youth in Los Angeles. She has also worked with the International Rescue Committee’s refugee resettlement and preschool program in San Diego, and as a residential counselor for foster youth in San Francisco.

Her current research aims to engage youth in a social, political, and economic critique of Social Science curricular standards in California, and to become engaged advocates for a culturally, historically and politically responsive education based on human dignity and earthly respect, and rooted in the practice of love. Felicia received her Master’s degree in Global and International Studies from UC Santa Barbara and she received her BA in Political Science with a Minor in History from UC San Diego.

Edwin Rivera, Research Analyst

Edwin Rivera is a Research Analyst for the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS). He is a recent Bachelor of Arts (BA) graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he majored in sociology with a focus and minor in education studies. At the center, he has worked on multiple projects including the CTS interactive map on the educational conditions of students experiencing homelessness in the state of California as well as charting educational outcomes of accumulated disadvantage for Black students in Los Angeles. As a UCLA transfer student, his primary research interests focus on systems of higher education and the ways in which they, both, promote socioeconomic opportunities and maintain socioeconomic inequalities. Additionally, he is interested in assessing how intersections of class, race, and gender affect educational achievement. Through understanding how educational policy is made, its origins, and the continuing effects of educational reform he seeks to improve school quality and address socioeconomic inequalities.


Jack Lama, Research Scholar

Jack Lama is an Undergraduate Research Scholar for the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS). He is currently an undergraduate at UCLA, pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in History with a Minor in Education Studies while on a three year track to graduate. Jack has strong interests in student homelessness, structures of various local control funding formula (LCFF), teacher retention rates in urban environments, and the impacts of effective integration on schools. Outside of working for CTS, Jack has held executive positions of Vice President and Property Manager of Alpha Gamma Omega Fraternity while also being in leadership for Campus Crusade for Christ at UCLA.

Tilly Friedlander, Communications Scholar 

Tilly Friedlander is an Undergraduate Communications Scholar for the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS). She is currently in her third undergraduate year at UCLA, pursuing a major in Communication Studies, with a minor in Film & Television. Tilly is very passionate about improving the education system to make it more equitable, and focusing her efforts on issues pertaining to disparities in education. She views student homelessness as a crisis that must be addressed by allocating more resources and funding. Outside of CTS, Tilly is a member of the Public Relations Committee for the UCLA Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA, which is the largest student-run nonprofit on the West Coast. She is very excited about all the amazing work CTS is doing to make education more equitable.

Dr. Pedro A. Noguera, Founder

Pedro A. Noguera is the founder of the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) at UCLA and is currently the Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education. 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.

Twitter: @pedroanoguera