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Education Funders Group: An Update on LA County’s Reopening Protocols for K-12 Schools

Wednesday, December 2, 2020
10:00am - 11:30am PST
Location Title: 

As the year comes to an end parents and educators are anxiously awaiting to hear plans on the reopening of schools. SCG’s Education Funders Group invites you to join us for a briefing on how LA County’s Department of Public Health is working with school districts and charter schools on the safety measures being taken for the reopening of schools.

The Education Funders Group brings philanthropic funders together quarterly to learn about issues, trends, and needs in the field of education to inform individual and collective grantmaking. Over the years, the group has explored a variety of topics, including early childhood education, after school programming, parent engagement, blended learning, linked learning, STEM, implementation of the common core, and college access/college success.



Myrna Castrejón

President and Chief Executive Officer, CCSA

As the leader of CCSA, Myrna Castrejón has managed the membership organization representing California's public charter schools since January 2019.

Prior to assuming the role of President and CEO, she served for nearly three years as the Founding Executive Director of Great Public Schools Now, an organization created in winter 2015. As the Executive Director, Myrna led Great Public Schools Now's strategy to transform public education in Los Angeles by expanding high-quality public schools of diverse governance models in the areas most in need of support.

Before that assignment, Myrna worked at the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) in various key leadership roles since its founding in late 2003, leading the government affairs, local advocacy, quality, school development, and research and evaluation portfolios at various times. Her work with CCSA was preceded by a decade in school reform efforts in Texas and Los Angeles.

In the late 1990s-early 2000s, Myrna served as a consultant to the state-funded Urban Education Partnership/LAUSD, helping to develop eight innovative early education service centers in the most high-need areas of Los Angeles; served as VP of School and Family Networks for the Los Angeles Alliance for Student Achievement and the director for family engagement for the Los Angeles Annenberg Metropolitan Project.

In Texas, Myrna spearheaded parent and community engagement efforts at the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence, a K-16 systemic reform initiative and served for nearly a decade as a key education leader, supporting community organizing strategies for the Southwest Industrial Areas Foundation and its statewide Alliance Schools Initiative to develop parent, teacher and community capacity to transform low-performing schools into high achieving centers for community-wide change.

Whether in community organizing efforts or through her leadership on the national board of Parents for Public Schools, Myrna cemented her professional ‘north star’ orientation early: to center the needs of students and parents and give their children high-quality education opportunities when faced with so few equitable choices. Her passion for this critical work is personal too - as a single mother and an immigrant - driven by what she knows is possible when commitment, opportunity and urgency meet to help families carve out better futures.

Myrna is a member of the Aspen Pahara Education Fellowship's eighth class and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Myrna and her son share their home with two black cats and the six different brass instruments her son plays in his quest to feature in a college marching band. Will it be USC? UCLA? Stay tuned…

Valerie Cuevas

Senior Program Officer for Education, The California Community Foundation

Valerie Cuevas serves as Senior Program Officer for Education at the California Community Foundation. With expertise in educational equity, state legislative policy and K-12 governance, she most recently led Education grantmaking strategy as the Senior Program Officer for Education at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation (SVCF). She entered philanthropy after a significant tenure with Education Trust-West, where she focused on public policy advocacy and program work that improved educational outcomes for all students pre-Kinder through college. Additionally, Valerie recently completed two-terms as a publicly elected school board member and served as President of the West Contra Costa Unified Board of Education, a middle-sized, urban Bay area school district serving approximately 30,000 children, seventy-five percent of whom are English learners, low-income and/or foster youth students. Valerie is a proud product of California’s public education system and a staunch advocate for kids. She is frequently featured in the media for her respected expertise and education equity advocacy.

Debra Duardo, M.S.W., Ed.D.

Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools

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

Previously executive director of Student Health and Human Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District, Dr. Duardo now serves as the chief executive officer for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, and as secretary of the County Board of Education. In this post, Dr. Duardo provides leadership and support to the superintendents and other top administrators of the county’s 80 K-12 school districts.

She has 30 years of professional experience working with at-promise 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.

As LAUSD’s executive director of Student Health and Human Services, she was responsible for the administrative oversight of support services and district programs including Student Medical Services, School Nursing, School Mental Health, Pupil Services, Dropout Prevention and Recovery, Health Education, Community Partners, and Medi-Cal programs.

She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a doctorate from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. Appointed by former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, she also served as a City Commissioner on the Commission for Community and Family Services. Dr. Duardo is currently the Chair of the National Dropout Prevention Network Board of Directors which she has served on since 2006.

Dr. Barbara Ferrer

Director of Public Health, Los Angeles County

Dr. Barbara Ferrer is a nationally‐known public health leader with over 30 years of professional experience as a philanthropic strategist, public health director, educational leader, researcher, and community advocate. She has a proven track record of working collaboratively to improve population outcomes through efforts that build health and education equity.

Most recently, Dr. Ferrer served as the Chief Strategy Officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, where she was responsible for developing the strategic direction for critical program‐related work and providing leadership to the foundation’s key program areas: Education & Learning; Family Economic Security; Food, Health & Well‐Being; Racial Equity; Community Engagement; and Leadership Development.

Prior to working at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Dr. Ferrer served as the Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, where she led a range of public health programs and built innovative partnerships to address inequities in health outcomes and support healthy communities and healthy families. During her time as Executive Director, Dr. Ferrer secured federal, state, and local funding for critical public health infrastructure and community‐based programs. Under her leadership, the City of Boston saw significant improvements in health outcomes, including a decrease in the rates of childhood obesity, smoking, and infant mortality.

Dr. Ferrer has also served as Director of Health Promotion & Chronic Disease Prevention and Director of the Division of the Maternal & Child Health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. As a headmaster at a district high school in Boston, she led efforts to significantly improve high school graduation rates and ensure that every graduating senior was accepted to college. Dr. Ferrer received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from Brandeis University, a Master of Arts in Public Health from Boston University, a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Cassy Horton

Vice President, Greater Los Angeles Local Advocacy

Cassy is Vice President, Greater Los Angeles Local Advocacy. She leads CCSA's cross-functional efforts to secure public policy wins that improve education equity throughout Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties. Cassy is a mission-driven leader with more than a decade of experience engaging and activating social and public sector stakeholders to deliver meaningful change in California. Her expertise includes government relations, strategic communications, and social impact. She studied political science and public affairs at U.C.L.A, and is pursuing her M.B.A. through the University of Chicago Booth's Civic Scholars program for leading government and nonprofit professionals from across the U.S.. Cassy was the president of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network- Los Angeles, serves as a Chair of Booth Social Impact, and has volunteered with dozens of community-based organizations and political campaigns. When she is offline you can find her camping in the mountains or playing rec-league volleyball.

No cost to participate

Who May Attend
Current SCG members

SCG members: Register online (you must log in to your SCG account to register).
If you have additional questions regarding these sessions, please contact us at [email protected]

Accommodations for People with Disabilities
If you have a disability and require accommodation in order to fully participate in this activity, please contact our programs team at [email protected] or (213) 680-8866. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs.

Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions
Funding Area 

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