Mayra A. Lara, Ed.D.

Director of Southern California Partnerships & Engagement

At a young age, Dr. Mayra A. Lara (she/her/ella) immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her parents and sister, and they made Los Angeles their home. Reading was always a large part of Mayra’s life; her parents filled their home with books and newspapers and engaged her and her siblings in lively conversations. This practice made attending school as an undocumented person a much more manageable experience. With support from her parents, siblings, and mentors, Mayra became the first person in her family to be admitted to and graduate from a university. Her lived experience and academic journey fueled her interest in working in education.

Mayra began her career in the classroom as an English teacher for the Los Angeles Unified School District. While at the district, she worked to create meaningful and lasting relationships with students and families. She carries her love for teaching and the young people with whom she worked to The Education Trust—West. Mayra was drawn to Ed Trust—West because of its focus on racial equity, supporting low-income students, and purposeful engagement with communities.

As the Director of Southern California Partnerships and Engagement, Mayra works closely with colleagues to advance educational equity for students of color and students living in poverty in Los Angeles County and across Southern CA. Mayra holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis of Education from California State University Long Beach. Mayra also holds a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership for Social Justice from Loyola Marymount University. Her research focused on young women of color’s experiences as they navigated the sexual politics of education.

 

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Karla Fernandez

Communications Manager

Karla Fernandez (she/her/hers) joins Ed Trust–West as a Communications Manager with over 11 years of experience advancing social impact initiatives.

Karla started her career as a teacher at Chicago Public Schools and UIC College Prep. After teaching, Karla joined United Friends of the Children to support LA County’s youth in foster care as a college counselor. Through Leadership for Educational Equity, Karla also served as a Policy Advisor Fellow for the office of a Los Angeles Unified School Board Member. She solidified her interests in policy analysis and quantitative research during her time with the Price Center for Social Innovation, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, and the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability. Before joining The Education Trust–West, Karla was the Associate Director for the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) Collaborative, a network of nonprofits advocating for communities in SELA.

Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, a Master of Public Policy from the USC Price School of Public Policy, and a Graduate Certificate in Policy Advocacy from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Karla is based out of southern California and is passionate about using data analysis, communications, and digital strategies for policy advocacy and social justice efforts.