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.
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.
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.
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.
Geneva Sum, Communications & Design Specialist
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 to empower marginalized communities. She has been a mentor and led creative workshops for teen and 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 Photography certificate from the Los Angeles Center of Photography.
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.
Dr. Timea Farkas, Research Analyst
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.
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.
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 [she/her/ella] is a doctoral candidate in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education program, specializing in race and ethnic studies within the School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. Lorena’s research interests include race, racism, and microaggressions in education, issues concerning access and equity for Students of Color, and representations of People of Color in children’s books and young adult literature. She holds a master’s degree in education from CSU Long Beach and 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.
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 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.
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 antiblackness. As a graduate student researcher, Travis has worked apart of 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 School House” research team.
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 & Digital Media. Tilly is very passionate about improving the education system to make it more equitable for underrepresented students, 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, 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.
Cristine Ortiz, Research Scholar
Cristine is a fourth-year Anthropology major. She is currently working on the HYP project as well as BTS. She started a mentorship organization at UCLA called Bruin Pair UCLA that pairs upperclassmen with underclassmen and also participates in other organizations like Global siblings to integrate international students into the UCLA environment. Her post-grad plans include creating non-profit organizations that target providing resources to under-resourced communities within the homeless community and education.
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.
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.