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March 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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School

Los Angeles Unified School DistrictCandidate for Board of Trustees, Trustee Area 5

Photo of Cynthia Gonzalez

Cynthia Gonzalez

Principal/Parent
3,220 votes (9.8%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Investment-In order to provide students the education they deserve we need to provide schools the resources needed to be successful. This includes investing in counselors, college advisors and psychiatric social workers.
  • Empowerment-Putting decision making back in the hands of schools. Stakeholders at school sites should be empowered to make decisions over funding, curriculum and assessments.
  • Equity- All schools should serve all kids. This includes evening out the playing field between traditional public schools and charter schools.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Principal, High School
Principal, Los Angeles Unified School District (2014–current)
Assistant Principal, Los Angeles Unified School District (2013–2014)
Principal, Los Angeles Unified School District (2010–2013)
Title I, Bilingual Avid Coordinator, Los Angeles Unified School District (2006–2010)
Social Studies Teacher, Los Angeles Unified School District (2002–2006)

Education

University of California Los Angeles Doctorate, Educational Leadership (2018)
University of California Los Angeles Masters, Education (2010)
University of California Los Angeles Masters, Education (2003)
University of California Santa Barbara Bachelors of Arts, Sociology (2001)

Community Activities

Executive Board Member, Pilot School Organization (2015–current)
Member at Large, Associated Administrators of Los Angeles (2010–current)
Member at Large, Association of California School Administrators (2018–current)
Chair, Pilot School Organization (2017–2018)
Co-Chair, Pilot School Organization (2016–2017)

Biography

Educational and Professional Work.  

My commitment to issues of equity and social justice began more than 19 years ago as a student at UC Santa Barbara. I was fortunate enough to work for an after-school program called Project Learn. This program was focused on addressing the needs of low-income Latino/a students in local schools. This experience shaped my understanding of the tough circumstances some of our students face. It was this experience and my work as an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) tutor that fueled my desire to go into education.

As a graduate of the Teacher Education Program at UCLA, I was able to earn a teaching credential and master's degree in education.  I worked with the Institute for Democracy Education and Access studying issues of equity across southern California schools. I brought this experience and passion to LAUSD as a social studies teacher at Bethune Middle School located in South Central Los Angeles.

I addressed the needs of our most marginalized students through the development of community-based partnerships and workshops that allowed students to use their voice. As a teacher, I integrated my passion for equity into lessons and projects including collaborating with UCLA, which allowed my students to explore issues related to the Brown vs. Board of Education case. Students engaged in action research projects focused on understanding inequities in schools, specifically in South Los Angeles.  During my time as a classroom teacher I became heavily involved in parent education efforts. I helped parents organize the first PTA, for which parents voted me president. My close relationship to parents and educating parents about budget transparency made me think differently about my role as an educator in LAUSD. These experiences led me to apply for a coordinator position.

Being a Title I, Bilingual, Beyond the Bell and AVID Coordinator at Bravo Medical Magnet High School, one of the districts highest performing schools allowed me to see the access and opportunity gaps that exist within our district.  I oversaw the English Learner Program, the Title I Program, including the development and management of the schools budget, the after-school program which was focused on improving the educational outcomes of at-risk students, the schools AVID program and all parent related activities, which has always been a passion. I used my understanding of school budgets and my passion for working with marginalized students to develop and fund a Saturday intervention program for students and their parents.  At the height of our program we had over 100 parents attending Saturday sessions led by counselors and support staff from our school. This program helped improve 9th to 10th grade transition rates of our at-risk students.

As a coordinator, I made decisions that developed and shaped programs that improved access for all students. I used my time at Bravo to learn to create positive school cultures and to develop and budget programs to improve student outcomes. My goal was always to go back to serve in a high-needs community. In order to do this, I returned to UCLA to earn my administrative credential and a second Masters in Education. This allowed me to apply for administrator positions within the district.

My first administrator role was serving the vibrant community of Boyle Heights at Roosevelt High School as the principal for the School of Law and Government. I collaborated with local partners, increased access and opportunities for our most marginalized students and worked closely with teachers to understand their needs and to ensure that we created positive working environments.

In 2014 I saw the opportunity to go back to the community in which I began my teaching career, South Central Los Angeles. My goal was always to make a difference and to prove that "we" educators in schools have the ability to shape the culture of our schools and the opportunities of the students that we serve. I took this opportunity head-on as the principal for the Communication and Technology School (CATS) at Diego Rivera. I've focused my last four years of work at CATS in improving access to 4-year colleges and universities for students. I use distributed leadership practices and incorporate teacher and stakeholder voice in all of our decisions.  I am intentional about collaborating with organizations that foster the development of school teams and have mentored educators to take on administrative and out of classroom roles within our district and beyond.

This past year I chaired the Pilot School Organization for LAUSD, which supported the work of 48 LAUSD Pilot Schools. Pilot schools serve high-need communities by fostering equitable, personalized, innovative and collaborative environments that are teacher-powered and inclusive of all stakeholders.  During this time we focused our energy on making our organization a true teacher-led organization, inviting teachers to help craft our organizational agendas and professional development work. We collaborated closely with the Center for Powerful Schools and UCLA’s Center for Community Schooling to publish “A Decade of Innovation” a policy brief on the impact of our focus on equity, innovation and a personalized education for every child.

Most recently, I received my doctorate degree from UCLA's Educational Leadership Program under the chairmanship of Professor John Rogers, Faculty Director of Center X and Director of UCLA's Institute for Democracy Education and Access. My dissertation work was guided by my dissertation committee, which included Dr. Pedro Noguera, Director of the Center for the Transformation of Schools, Dr. Tyrone Howard, Director of the Black Male Institute and Dr. Karen Hunter Quartz founder and Director of UCLA's Center for Community Schooling. My dissertation focused on understanding the work of educators in low-income communities in order to better provide them with the support and resources needed to create the right conditions for teaching and learning.  My research reinforces the need to have educators be the leaders of change, and an understanding that every community and school in our district has unique needs. Most importantly, that a one-size fits all approach to education does not work. I seek to bring my extensive experiences to the board, because I believe that it is educators like me who will make the difference for all of our kids.

 

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (1)

  • Associated Administrators of Los Angeles

Individuals (2)

  • Victoria Castro
  • Jeanne Fauci

Videos (1)

— January 10, 2019 Dr. Cynthia Gonzalez for School Board 2019

This video provides details of my experience in schools, as well as the impact I have had, and what I want to accomplish in our district.  

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