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Southern California Funders' Discussion on COVID-19: Education Funders Group on the Reopening of Schools and After School Programs

Thursday, August 13, 2020
9:00am - 10:30am PDT
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The question of whether and how to reopen schools and after-school programs this fall is becoming increasingly urgent. From the social and emotional wellbeing of children to the economic impacts for parents and families, the reopening of schools will be a critical component of coronavirus recovery. 

Join us for the next Southern California Funders' Discussion on COVID-19, presented in partnership with SCG's Education Funders Group, to hear how a variety of district leaders and an after school program are thinking about reopening, and how they plan to address educational, health, and safety concerns. The virtual session will take place Thursday, August 13, at 9 am. 

*Due to the importance of this topic, we will be presenting the August 13 Education Funders Group session during the COVID-19 bi-monthly webinar series.



Peter Rivera

Program Officer, Education, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

Peter Rivera is an Education Program Officer at the Hewlett Foundation. He works with our Deeper Learning partners to spread, scale, and support educators in effective teaching and learning practices.

Previously, Peter served as program and policy development advisor for the nation’s second largest school district, Los Angeles Unified. He worked on scaling new high school math courses, developing a school performance framework, and implementing district-wide improvement science efforts. From 2010-2016, Peter worked as a senior program officer at the California Community Foundation, where his grantmaking supported nonprofits and educational institutions in Los Angeles. Peter also conducted charter school oversight as a program manager/program monitor for the San Diego Unified School District. He began his career in education at the Long Beach Unified School District.

Peter holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California Los Angeles, and a masters degree in public policy from the University of Southern California. He is a Los Angeles native and enjoys supporting his hometown sports teams.



Gudiel Crosthwaite

Superintendent, Lynwood Unified School District

Gudiel R. Crosthwaite, Ph.D. is currently the superintendent at Lynwood Unified School District (LUSD) in Los Angeles. Dr. Crosthwaite has enjoyed a 24-year career in education, including teaching, mentoring, and leadership focused on removing educational barriers. In 2013, as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, his leadership team was instrumental in the district's extraordinary gains in achievement, including in graduation rates and enrollment in advanced placement (AP) coursework. In 2017, LUSD was one of only three Districts in the nation –and only one in California –to be named 2017 AP District of the Year by the College Board for their AP performance.

Cristina de Jesus

President and Chief Executive Officer, Green Dot Public Schools California

Cristina is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Green Dot Public Schools California, a non-profit network of public charter schools. She has helped build the foundation of Green Dot’s success with a role in nearly every initiative and undertaking to boost student achievement across the network having originally joined Green Dot as the founding principal at Ánimo Inglewood Charter High School in 2002. As CEO, she oversees nineteen middle and high schools and over 11,000students across Los Angeles. Before being named President and CEO, she was Green Dot’s Vice President of Curriculum and Instruction for two years before serving as Cheif Operating Officer and Chief Academic Officer. Prior to joining Green Dot, Cristina was an English and History teacher for seven years in the Santa Monica/Malibu School District and earned National Board Certification in Early Adolescent/English Language Arts. Cristina has earned a Masters of Education, a Masters of Education Administration, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from UCLA.

Mike Lansing

Executive Director, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor

Born and raised in San Pedro, Mike Lansing has been committed to the expansion of quality youth programs and facilities his entire adult life. Mike started teaching and coaching youth at the age of twenty and continued in that profession for eighteen years. In 1988, Mike founded the San Pedro Youth Coalition, a volunteer non-profit agency that promotes youth issues and sponsors youth development programs. Mike served as president of this organization for its first seven years, returned as president in 2001, and retired from the board in 2003.The Youth Coalition he founded still thrives today.In 1995, Mike became executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Pedro. Mike is an alumnus of the Club and also served on its Board of Directors for three years. Since he has taken the leadership staff position of the organization, the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Pedro has seen tremendous growth. Capital expansion of over $12,000,000 included two new computer labs, a Family & Youth Counseling Center, 4College Bound Centers, operation of a recreation center, 2 recording studios, two public housing centers serving 800 public housing families, 5STEM Centers, two sports Arenas, 4 modular classrooms including a K/1 Center, Maker’s Studio and the fully modernized Harbor City & Wilmington Boys & Girls Clubs. In addition, Mike led the initiative to merge the San Pedro organization with both the Wilmington Boys & Girls Clubs (2004) and the Harbor City/Gateway Boys & Girls Clubs (2019) into one stronger organization. The resulting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor (BGCLAH) now operate “20” program sites in these three communities including twelve school sites. Attendance growth is evidenced by 150members attending the Club each day in 1995 to 2,600 youth attending daily in 2019. Budget/capacity growth is exhibited by a $270,000 operating budget in 1995 growing to$9.3millionfor for 2020-2021. Major programs developed under Mike’s tenure are the nationally recognized College Bound program as well as their expanding “Career Bound” program, the Arts Academy project including the aforementioned digital recording studios, 5 Fine Arts Centers and 5Music Centers, STEM & Maker’s Studios, and the prioritization of “teens” via the construction of five separate Teen Centers sponsoring comprehensive teen programming. In 2015, Mike was chosen to serve on the “Higher Education Task Force” for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In 1999, Mike was elected to the Board of Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District representing District 7. During his tenure and leadership, the district passed “3” construction bonds worth $11.2 Billion. Besides serving as the Chairman of the important Facilities committee which oversaw the construction of over 80new schools within Los Angeles and thousands of existing schools improvement projects/improvements, Mike initiated many new programs for his district over his eight years in the office including the District 7 Grants Program, the District 7 STAR Awards, the Future Leaders of Los Angeles Awards and Community Development Block Grant projects at three of his high schools. In addition, Mike began a Library Initiative in coordination with the Wonder of Reading Foundation. During his tenure, 52 of Mike’s schools received new library facilities valued at over $2million and nearly $500,000 of new library books. Mike also spearheaded a major facility addition at each of his seven high schools at a value of over $20 million. Mike was re-elected to the LAUSD Board of Education in 2003and retired in 2007. Mike is a graduate of San Pedro High School (1974) and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Finance from California State University, Long Beach. He received his California Teaching Credential and Master of Arts in School Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Stacey Wilkins

Administrative Director, Innovation & Improvement Office, Pomona Unified School District

Over the past 19 years, Mr. Wilkins has worked in education, supporting students and families in Lynwood and now the Pomona Unified School District (PUSD). His roles have included: middle school Teacher, Librarian, Dean of Students, high school Assistant Principal, Principal, and currently as PUSD's Administrative Director, Innovation and Improvement Officer. During this time, Mr. Wilkins has facilitated curriculum development, revised discipline matrices, and developed small learning communities for our underserved student population. He has conducted transformational work around school culture, community engagement, and instructional practices for students with significant achievement gaps. In his current position as the Administrative Director of Innovation and Improvement, Mr. Wilkins has been tasked with improving three of PUSD's lowest academically-performing schools: two elementary schools sites, and one 7-12 academy. He has achieved this by establishing system support and sustainability, using a continuous improvement model through his work with the School Improvement Grant (SIG). SIG now functions as a "learning lab" for districtwide system improvement using improvement science tools to facilitate PUSD's Strategic Plan prioritization, revision, and implementation. Mr. Wilkins continues to engage with various stakeholder groups by assisting with the district's LCAP, and serving as a member of PUSD's Executive Cabinet, the Superintendent's Strategic Planning Council, the Education Services Instructional Leadership Team, and the Budget Advisory Committee to analyze and prioritize district initiatives and strategies to help Pomona USD successfully fulfill its mission. Most of the time now is spent as the facilitator for Pomona Unified School District's Taskforce Committee for the Reopening of Schools which is comprised of over 100 members. 

Since March, SCG has coordinated regular funders' briefings to discuss topics including the social safety net, public health, nonprofit resilience, mental health, and more. Participate in these conversations as they continue on a bimonthly basis on the second and fourth Thursday of the month through August.

Dates included in the series are:

Thursday, August 13 | 9:00am - 10:00am PDT > Learn More

Thursday, September 10 | 9:00am - 10:00am PDT > Learn More


No cost to participate

Who May Attend
Current SCG members and eligible non-members

SCG members: Register online (you must log in to your SCG account to register).
Non-members: Register online. If you do not have an SCG account, contact us.
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
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