“What the educator does in teaching is make it possible for the students to become themselves.”
Anita ravi, founder, executive director
Anita Ravi is a history teacher and teacher educator with over 20 years of experience working in urban public schooling. Ms. Ravi's work is based on a core belief in effort-based education for ALL students, with an emphasis on equity and access through school and curricular systems design. She taught high school history and humanities at School of the Future in New York City in the late 1990s, and transitioned into professional development and curriculum design upon moving to Pittsburgh, PA. As a fellow at the Institute for Learning, University of Pittsburgh from 2001 to 2007, she supported Social Studies supervisors across 15 urban school districts in designing curriculum and professional development for history teachers to support disciplinary literacy in secondary classrooms. Ms. Ravi became the Social Studies supervisor for Pittsburgh Public Schools in 2008, where she led a cadre of district history teachers to develop a core curriculum in Social Studies for grades 3-12. This project included the design of an innovative civics course for all 9th graders called “Civics: Be the Change.” Designed to engage students in solving pressing problems in their communities while learning the history of civic and social activism in Pittsburgh, “Civics: Be the Change” became a model course for the State of Pennsylvania. After moving to Southern California in 2011, Ms. Ravi became the Chief Academic Officer at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, the largest charter school network in Los Angeles, serving 10,000 students in 22 middle and high schools. There, she hired and led a 24-person instructional team to design professional development and support for teachers and principals as they transitioned to the Common Core State Standards.
Since 2014, Ms. Ravi has worked on designing curriculum and professional development for the Big History Project, Pearson’s ELA Common Core System of Courses, and AP U.S. History teachers via the College Board. She has worked on revamping teacher preparation with the National Center for Teacher Residencies and TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan to empower beginning teachers with the practice and skills to be student ready on day 1. Ms. Ravi holds an Ed.M in curriculum design from Teachers College at Columbia University, an M.A. in History from New York University, and a B.A. in History from the University of California, Berkeley.
Raven Jones, Director of Operations
“Justice is what love looks like in public.”
Raven Jones is a youth advocate who aspires to be a conduit for transformative social change. She has spent her career bridging the gaps between college access, social emotional learning and social justice. Working specifically with students of color and marginalized students ensuring that all students are provided with the skills, access and opportunity to reach their full potential.
She has managed social emotional learning and mentorship programs in some of the largest school districts and charter school networks in the country, including Los Angeles Unified School District, Dallas Independent School District, Alliance College Ready Public Schools and Uplift Education. Hiring and developing talented instructional leaders, implementing sound operational policies and procedures and overseeing both the day to day logistics and long-term strategies for exceptional programs. One of the most rewarding parts of her career thus far has been building programs from the ground up in new regions. Building strong foundational partnerships with students, families, community leaders and community organizations. Leading with furious passion, a depth of expertise and a talent for making connections she has directed phenomenal teams in bringing hundreds of young people into safe and brave spaces, where they can thrive academically and socially.
Raven holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Pitzer College, one of the Claremont Colleges, in Organizational Studies with a specialization in Gender, Race and Class and is currently completing her Master of Science at Northwestern University in Public Policy and Public Administration.
She is honored to be the Founding Director of Operations for We the People High School and is committed to cultivating an environment where all students are celebrated and empowered to become the next generation of world leaders.
Khemara Has, Board Chairperson
Khemara Has is a cognitive psychology instructor at California State University, Fullerton with 7 years of experience. She has guest lectured at Mount St. Mary’s University and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her background in cognitive psychology included investigating the effects of language comprehension, working memory and real-time decision making with appetitive food choices. Ms. Has has presented her research at conferences for the American Psychological Association and the Western Psychological Association. As co-coordinator for the Claremont Graduate University cognitive psychology program “Cognitive Brown Bag”, Khemara planned a series of talks where recognized psychologists were invited to present current research to the student body. In 2008, she joined the Prevention and Early Intervention taskforce of the Department of Mental Health in Riverside County. Through this work, high risk populations were evaluated in their need for improved mental health services access in vulnerable regions.
As a native of Long Beach, California, Ms. Has is on the steering committee of Long Beach United and is a community organizer within the Don’t Waste Long Beach Coalition. Her work in social justice has led her to advocate for renters’ rights, equity in mental health as well as racial equality. She completed the People’s Planning School through Building Healthy Communities (“BHC”) where a new neighborhood association was proposed to address a city planning issue of equity.
Ms. Has holds an M.A. in Applied Cognitive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside.
Linda melbrech, board member
Linda Melbrech was a secondary history teacher for over twenty years in Los Angeles Unified School District and Long Beach Unified School District, both large urban school districts in Southern California. In 1995 Linda was promoted and served as a Curriculum Leader for History Social Science in LBUSD. In this position Linda supported all history teachers (kindergarten through 12thgrade), conducted new teacher institutes, provided professional development for experienced teachers, and created a district wide assessment system to support the teaching of history. During this time Ms. Melbrech authored and was awarded six Teaching American History grants. Each one of these grants offered additional professional development, travel opportunities and seminars with noted historians to the district’s teachers. As part of these grants Linda travelled and offered professional development to additional California schools including San Bernardino, Crescent City, Elk Grove, Humboldt, and Santa Ana. In 2008 Linda was awarded the Hilda Taba Award, presented by the California Council of Social Studies to the person who made the most contributions in the field of history during that calendar year.
In 1996 Ms. Melbrech began teaching at California State University Long Beach as an adjunct professor. Since retiring from LBUSD in 2013, she has moved to full time work at the University, including teaching methods courses for both the elementary and secondary credential, supervising history student teachers and delivering the core classes that are part of the history credential at the University.
tina choi, board member
Ms. Choi is a Partner at Englander, Knabe & Allen, the leading Public Relations and Government Advocacy firm in the Greater Los Angeles Area. She specializes in government and entitlement advocacy and consulting, specifically guiding and counseling clients through the myriad of real estate development and entitlement and permitting approval processes. Tina acts as the interface with political entities, development and construction related agencies and community organizations.
Prior to her role as Partner at EKA, Ms. Choi served as a senior economic development deputy and Director of International Trade for Mayor Richard J. Riordan, where she secured notable accomplishments in business retention and attraction efforts for the City of LA, including the retention of Toyota Motor Sales, Viking Office Products, Steelcase Office, and Belken Computers in the City of Los Angeles. She also played a key role in the revitalization of Hollywood, the conversion of former defense manufacturing property owned by Boeing and Lockheed into industrial parks in the Harbor Gateway, and the revitalization of an inner-city urban core named Mid-Wilshire Centre/Koreatown which included AROMA SPOREX, the first build-to-suit development project of its scale in the area. As Director of International trade, she played a critical role in trade facilitation with Los Angeles and emerging economies in the world, collaborating with various ministers of trade throughout the world, including China, Latin America, and Russia. Her efforts resulted in supporting billions of dollars in trade growth. Notable policy endeavors included briefing sessions with the Clinton Administration and Leon Panetta and Senator Bob Dole to facilitate the passage of GATT, General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade.
Sommer Jones, Board Member
Ms. Jones began her teaching career in 1997 as a fourth-grade teacher in a small urban school in Watts, within Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). After 4 years of teaching in LAUSD, she joined an urban charter school, View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter School, because she saw the charter movement as an ideal reform model for our public education system. Within the growing Charter Management Organization, at Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), Sommer taught at a variety of grade levels and led multiple school wide reform efforts. In 2003, she earned National Board Certification as an educator in the Middle Childhood Generalist area.
In 2009, Sommer became an administrator as a Bridge Coordinator, overseeing the CMOs implementation of Student Success Teams at each of the 13 schools as well as supporting schools with implementation of Section 504 plans and some general special education support. After a few years in this role, Sommer moved into curriculum and instruction as she oversaw the elementary writing program and supported teachers in designing curriculum to better support district writing initiatives. Throughout her career, Sommer has served as a teacher and administrator in multiple capacities. She, served as the principal for Lou Dantzler Prep Middle School, an ICEF school and earned her Level II Administrative Credential with CSUDH’s Charter and Autonomous School Leaders Academy.
In 2012, Sommer joined Synergy Academies as the Director of Special Education & Student Services. She provides support to three school sites and also serves an important role with LAUSD’s Charter Operated Program (COP) where she serves on the Director’s Advisory Committee, providing consult to LAUSD’s COP Director and serves a trainer for behavioral professional developments across the district’s 200 plus charter schools.
Ms. Jones attended California State University at Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) for her undergraduate work and UCLA’s Center X for her Masters of Arts in Education and CLAD Multi-Subject credential.
Deidre Fraser, Board Member
For over seven years, Ms. Fraser has been invested in cause marketing and social impact strategy; implementing the processes and systems to help grow the Charity By Design division at Alex and Ani, which has donated over $54 Million since it was established in February 2011. Ms. Fraser worked to encourage individuals to invest their time and skill-sets in their community; manage over 100 partnerships with various non-profit organizations from local children’s hospitals to international non-governmental organizations, such as UNICEF; and collaborate with companies such as Discovery Communications and the Walt Disney Company on charitable campaigns.
Certified in Social Impact Strategy by the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Fraser currently manages the Company’s philanthropic efforts including cause marketing initiatives, corporate disaster relief giving, as well as establishing innovative ways for the Company to expand its giving platform. In addition to We The People High School, Ms. Fraser serves on the board of City Year Providence and Walking with a Purpose and is a Certified CREATOR, by PeaceLove Foundation, to lead expressive arts workshops and spread awareness on mental health and wellness.