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. Jacqueline Rodio, Director of Business Administration

Jacqueline Rodio is the Director of Business Administration for the Center for the Transformation of Schools at the School of Education and Information Studies. In her role, Jacqueline overseas all aspects of administrative management and operations for the center.

Prior to her current role, Jacqueline served as an Associate Director of Program Services at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business. She was responsible for overseeing all aspects of program management and day-to-day operations related to the Master of Professional Accountancy and Master of Finance programs. Early in her career, she served as Patient Billing and Customer Service Manager for a $5.8 billion national clinical lab. She assisted senior management in strategic planning, development, and leadership as well as day-to-day operations of the company’s San Diego office.

Jacqueline holds a Doctor of Education from University of Southern California, a Master of Science degree in Global Leadership from University of San Diego School of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management from California State University, San Marcos, and a certificate in Project Management from University of San Diego.


Dr. Angela James, Research Director

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.


Dr. Kai Mathews, Project Director

Dr. Mathews is the CA Educator Diversity 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. 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.


Dr. Timea Farkas, Project Director

Dr. Farkas is deeply committed to conducting social science research to advance equitable educational and life outcomes for historically excluded children. She has over ten years of experience investigating the roles of educational policies and practices and psychological factors in the exacerbation or mitigation of academic and well-being inequities. Most recently, prior to joining CTS, she investigated the effects of English learner K-12 segregated versus integrated classroom placement on students’ opportunity to learn, psychological outcomes such as self-concept and motivation, and achievement. Dr. Farkas holds a doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in Education from the University of California, Berkeley.


Geneva Sum, Communications Director

Geneva has a background in graphic design and art direction for branding, marketing & communications, and has worked with large corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations across a wide range of industries. She manages the Center’s branding, communications strategy, public relations, and digital channels. Geneva is passionate about working with young adults and believes in the power of education and creativity to empower marginalized communities. She mentors and leads creative workshops for trauma survivors, including teen and adult transitional homes in Los Angeles, a girls education program in Bangladesh, Syrian refugee youth in Beirut, and sex trafficking survivors in Mexico City. Geneva holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Northeastern University in Boston, MA and a Photography certificate from the Los Angeles Center of Photography.

Cathy Balfe, Research Analyst

Cathy is a Research Analyst at the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS) at UCLA. She is passionate about generating accessible and useful research that focuses on addressing systemic barriers to equity. Prior to joining CTS, Cathy worked at Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, where she conducted quantitative and qualitative research seeking to understand how education policy changes impact historically marginalized students both in New Orleans and nationally. Her work has covered a variety of topics, including early childhood application patterns, schools’ responses to the COVID-19 school closures, and the equity implications of admissions policy changes in the New Orleans public school system. Cathy holds a BA in Economics from Tulane University.

Dr. Lu (Priscilla) Liu, Research Analyst

Dr. Liu is a methodologist and educational anthropologist. Her research incorporates a variety of qualitative methods including ethnography, narrative inquiry, phenomenology, and case study. The primary goal of her research is to scaffold for qualitative inquiry, providing a strategic and structured framework for designing and conducting educational research. Dr. Liu examines the ontological and epistemological foundations for qualitative inquiry, developing rigorous and rigid procedures for qualitative research, including macro-level and micro-level theories, data collection methods, data analysis, interpretation and representation.

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.


Brian Huff, Research Analyst

Brian Huff is a Research Analyst at for the Center for the Transformation of Schools with a mixed methods focus. Brian has over 10 years of experience conducting research in the areas of sociology, public health, and education. Brian’s research is interested in using quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry to understand educational and health disparities through a systems lens. Brian has extensive experience with program evaluation, randomized controlled trials, ethnography, and quantitative research design. 



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

Felicia Graham, Doctoral Researcher

Felicia is a Ph.D. 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.


Jaleel R. Howard, Doctoral Researcher

Jaleel R. Howard, MEd is a doctoral student at UCLA in the School of Education and Information Studies. Jaleel’s research interests center around urban contexts and social forces that affect the educational experiences and outcomes for chronically underserved students. A former English teacher, Jaleel has extensive knowledge of classroom supports and accommodations for instructional practice that enhance learning for underrepresented students.

Mary-Louise “Molly” Leger, Doctoral Researcher

Mary-Louise Leger is a doctoral student in UCLA’s Urban Schooling division. Her current research interests center on the transformation of urban school districts, transformational leadership, and the policy conditions for practice improvement.  To this end, she studies and advocates for systems change towards more expansive definitions of school and student success.

Before UCLA, Mary-Louise served as a teaching policy fellow, a non-profit director, and a middle school English Language Arts teacher. She has experience as a research consultant for schools, districts, and philanthropic foundations across the country. She holds a BA in International Development from McGill University, a masters in instruction, and a masters in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania.


Abbie Cohen, Doctoral Researcher

Abbie Cohen is a Ph.D. student in the Urban Schooling division at UCLA’s School of Education & Information Studies. Abbie’s research interests explore the complex and interwoven relationships between philanthropy, education nonprofits, and urban schools. She aims to interrogate the role of race, power, and access in the ever-changing relationship between these three disparate, but overlapping, institutions. 

Previously, Abbie has worked as a teacher in Medellín, Colombia, a non-profit administrator in Denver, Colorado, and as a community partnerships director at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Throughout her differing roles, and ranging geographic locations, Abbie works to build bridges between people, organizations, and communities. She received her master’s degree in Education Policy & Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Tufts University. 


Sam Blanchard, Doctoral Researcher

Sam Blanchard is a doctoral student in the Urban Schooling division at the School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Sam’s research interests focus on external social, political, and economic conditions, such as trauma and poverty, and their impact on student experiences, in addition to how schooling practices cause trauma. Prior to attending UCLA, Sam was an elementary classroom teacher passionate about trauma-informed practices and identity-affirming curriculum, classrooms, and school environments.


Demontea Thompson, Doctoral Researcher

Demontea Thompson is a Ph.D. student at UCLA in the School of Education and Information Systems, Urban Schooling Division. His research explores how educational institutions can facilitate success for marginalized students, particularly those who have had interactions with the child welfare and justice system. He is a Compton-native and the Co-founder and Executive Director of Twinspire – a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that works for and with youth in need of life skill services. A slam poet and author of the inspirational autobiography, Raised From Scratch, Demontea received his master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California (USC) and his undergraduate degree in business management from California State University, Northridge (CSUN). He is a CSUN Alumni Association board member and child welfare advocate.


Earl Edwards, Doctoral Researcher

Earl Edwards is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California Los Angeles Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. He completed his Master’s Degree in Public School Leadership from Columbia University and received his B.A. in Sociology from Boston College. His current research interests focus on how American public schools can better support youth experiencing homelessness.

Earl has over ten years of professional experience in youth development and curriculum design. As a district administrator and classroom teacher, Earl has designed and facilitated district-wide professional development modules covering data analysis, formative assessments, and effective teaching strategies for students with learning disabilities. Earl also co-authored graduate course curriculums focusing on educational leadership development in urban public schools for Columbia University Teachers College principal certification program. In addition to his expertise in curriculum development, Earl has founded and contributed to several youth development programs that support Black and Latino males across the country.


Tr’Vel Lyons, Doctoral Researcher

Tr’Vel Lyons is a Ph.D. candidate in the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, Urban Schooling division. Following his undergraduate graduation from UCLA in 2014, Tr’Vel earned his master’s degree in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His scholarship examines culturally relevant practices that enhance the college access and resources of Black males and women from grades 9-16. His current research seeks to investigate the impact of academic enrichment programs, mentoring, and advocacy on Black males pursuing higher education.


Travis Dumas, Doctoral Researcher

Travis is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies Urban Schooling division. His research interest include race in education, systems of student support, and lesser-explored challenges experienced by Black students. His current research examines the experiences and understandings of high performing Black male students attending low performing high schools and their encounters with anti-blackness. As a graduate student researcher, Travis has worked on several research projects and initiatives of UCLA’s Black Male Institute (BMI). Now a part of the Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS), Travis joins the “Beyond the Schoolhouse” research team.


Gene McAdoo, Doctoral Researcher

Gene McAdoo is a first-year doctoral student in Urban Schooling division at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. His research interests are positioned at the intersection of Black Studies and Education and are primarily concerned with exploring how Black students work to overcome educational obstacles related to antiblackness to thrive academically. The central goal of his research agenda is to develop an understanding of how antiblackness manifests in schools in order to develop solutions that will improve the holistic educational experiences and lifelong trajectories of Black students.

As a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, he wrote his senior thesis on Black students’ experiences of antiblackness in Los Angeles County public schools in addition to how Black students engaged in educational fugitivity to resist and challenge antiblackness in their schooling experiences. Professionally, he has worked for the UCLA VIP Scholars, serving as a mentor for Black students throughout Los Angeles County and working to provide them with academic and social support in such a way as to enhance their holistic wellbeing and competitive eligibility in the college admissions process.


Chris Mauerman, Research Scholar

Chris Mauerman is an Undergraduate Research Scholar for the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS). He is currently an undergraduate student at UCLA pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a minor in Education Studies. Chris is interested in increasing diversity at each step of the educator pipeline, creating equitable opportunities for students traditionally underrepresented in higher education, and promoting culturally responsive pedagogy. Outside of CTS, Chris currently serves as the Executive Director of Project Literacy, UCLA’s largest student-run tutoring organization, and works as the Internal Programs Director for UCLA’s Community Service Commission.


Paulina Torres, Research Scholar

Paulina is a third-year undergraduate research scholar for the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools (CTS). Paulina is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs and Education with a minor in Chicano/a and Central American Studies. She is currently working on the Homeless Youth Project (HYP). She is also involved with MEChA de UCLA, Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL), a nonpartisan climate organization, and the Tulare Migrant Program. Paulina’s upbringing in the Central Valley influences her strong interest in providing resources and support to homeless students, undocumented students, and migrant communities.


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