Carolyn Webb de Macías (Board Chair)
Board Officers (non-voting)
Melanie Lundquist is one of the leading philanthropists in Southern California, where she gives her support to various education and health care initiatives. Most notable among her philanthropic activities is her generous support of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. The Lundquists’ $50 Million gift to the Partnership is the largest private donation ever made to Los Angeles schools. Mrs. Lundquist is a founding member of the Board of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, past chair of the Advisory Board for Teach for America, and is co-chair of a $165 million capital campaign for the California Science Center. In addition, she is a significant donor to the Alliance for College-Ready Schools, a Los Angeles charter organization. She also lends her support to the Fulfillment Fund's endowment fund for college scholarships, and has taken active roles in Inner City Arts, United Friends of the Children, and Alliance for Children's Rights, among others. She established the Cardiovascular Institute at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center where she emphasizes women’s heart health.
Carolyn Webb de Macías recently completed 16 months as Chief of Staff in the office of Elementary and Secondary Education in the US Department of Education. She served in this capacity as a presidential appointee of President Barack Obama. As such, Mrs. Webb de Macías was the primary advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Education and oversaw office management. Mrs. Webb de Macías has a long history in education and politics. Mrs. Webb de Macías’s background includes being appointed to the University of Southern California as Vice President for External Relations, serving as Senior Advisor to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa providing counsel in a variety of areas, including education policy, gubernatorial appointee to the California African American Museum and Chief of Staff for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
Aileen Adams has extensive administrative and public sector experience for more than three decades. In July 2009, then Mayor Villaraigosa appointed her as the City’s first Deputy Mayor of the Office of Strategic Partnerships, a new position created to provide a close link to the nonprofit and philanthropic communities and facilitate public/private partnerships to address major problems. Mrs. Adams also oversaw two city departments: the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles Public Libraries. Throughout her distinguished career, Mrs. Adams has served as a member of California Governor Gray Davis’ Cabinet, was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. Justice Department where she headed the Office for Victims of Crime, she also worked as a prosecutor in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, and served as a Los Angeles City Fire Commissioner for over a decade. Mrs. Adams also worked as an award-winning Los Angeles Police Technical Reserve Officer, and co-founded Stuart House, a nationally recognized center for sexually abused children.
Kent Caldwell-Meeks is the Senior Director of Investment and Fiduciary Services for the California/Nevada Region of Wells Fargo’s Private Bank and has been in the financial services industry for more than 25 years. Since joining Wells Fargo in 2008 as a Senior Wealth Management Director, Mr. Caldwell-Meeks’ experience has included serving as the Senior Director of Investments and the Senior Director of Planning. Mr. Caldwell-Meeks is a voting member of the Wealth Management Division’s Investment Policy Committee. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and his Master of Business Administration degree with emphasis in Economics from Arizona State University. He also holds a professional financial planning credential from UCLA. Mr. Caldwell-Meeks lives in Los Angeles and serves on the California Science Center Foundation Board. He formerly served on the Board of Junior Achievement Southern California and Arizona for over 10 years.
Cyrus Hadidi is the co-portfolio manager and partner of JMB Capital, an investment firm based in Los Angeles. Along with his partner, he has grown this firm since its founding in 2002 from $32mm in assets to $1.5bn. Mr. Hadidi is a native of Wisconsin and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with dual degrees in History and Rhetoric. After working as an investment banker with Salomon Brothers, he attended Harvard Business School and graduated with an MBA in 2002 being awarded the distinctions of both Baker Scholar and John Loeb Fellow in Finance. In addition to his professional responsibilities at JMB Capital, Mr. Hadidi is active in the philanthropic community in Los Angeles. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors for A Place Called Home, which is a community center for at-risk youth in South Central Los Angeles. In addition, he is focused on improving public education, and serves on the Board of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools.
Lindsey Kozberg is a strategic communications professional who has served at all levels of government, and in the private and nonprofit sectors. She recently joined California Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm, after more than six years as vice president for external affairs at the RAND Corporation, where she led a team of 130 people charged with raising engagement with RAND's work and expertise. Ms. Kozberg is also an instructor at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and a fellow at the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, and serves on the boards of three Los Angeles-area nonprofits that serve at risk populations: ExED, New Visions Foundation, and Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.
Daniel Lefler is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella LLP. Mr. Lefler's primary areas of practice are in securities litigation, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions and complex commercial cases. Mr. Lefler has been selected for inclusion in Los Angeles Magazine's Southern California "Super Lawyers" every year since 2009, and was previously listed as a "Rising Star" in 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2008, the Los Angeles Daily Journal named him as one of California’s 100 most influential lawyers. He has also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2010. Mr. Lefler has a JD from the University of Chicago Law School, and a B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles.
Sara Leimbach is an English teacher at Samuel Gompers Middle School, where she serves as department chair. She teaches seventh grade honors English, and is an active member of the Partnership’s teacher leader program, currently serving as a Reed Mentor Teacher and Restorative Communities Lead. In 2015, she completed the Teacher Growth and Development Cycle, LAUSD’s teacher evaluation program, and was rated “highly effective”. She was selected as a Common Core Lead, a Partnership teacher leader role for the most effective teachers who have the capacity to coach and move instructional practices at their schools. For her dedication and leadership, she was name Inspirational Teacher of the Year by United Way in 2014. Ms. Leimbach has a B.A. from California State University, Long Beach, and received her teaching credential from California State University Dominguez Hills. She is passionate about urban education, and looks forward to the opportunity to collaborate further with the Partnership to improve the quality of instruction for our students.
Matt Miller is an executive at Capital Group, a world leader in investment firms, where he serves as senior vice president at Capital Strategy Research. His duties include analyzing policy trends that affect investment decisions and supporting Capital’s communication and engagement efforts with an array of external audiences. Mr. Miller joined Capital Group after a diverse career as an author, columnist, radio host and consultant whose work has focused on solving some of our country’s toughest challenges. He has a wealth of public and private sector experience that he brings to his work and believes firmly that all students can learn at exceptional levels. Mr. Miller has held numerous senior-level public sector posts, including his service in the Clinton administration at the Office of Management and Budget, and was appointed by education secretary Arne Duncan to the Equity and Excellence Commission, which examined inequities in school finance. Earlier in his career he was a White House Fellow and consulted regularly to corporations, foundations and government organizations. A former Washington Post columnist, Miller is the author of “The Two Percent Solution: Fixing America’s Problems In Ways Liberals and Conservatives Can Love,” and “The Tyranny Of Dead Ideas.” He also hosted the public radio show “Left, Right & Center.” Mr. Miller was born in New York City and received his B.A. in economics from Brown University and his law degree from Columbia Law School.
Mr. Ruiz first heard about the Partnership through our Parent College program, which he encountered when his children were at Soto Street Elementary School, a non-Partnership school in Boyle Heights. He attended Parent College workshops in Boyle Heights and later brought other Soto Street parents to the workshops. He is now a two-time Parent College graduate and has also served on LAUSD’s Parent Advocacy committee. He and his wife have three children, including a senior at Roosevelt and a student in Hollenbeck’s magnet program. Their oldest child attends UC-Riverside, where he started a branch of Students for Education Reform (SFER), advocating for education equity in California.
Mr. Ruiz is a graduate of Roosevelt High School and California State University – Los Angeles, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Social Welfare. Now retired, Mr. Ruiz worked for the County of Los Angeles’ Department of Housing Administration for 33 years.
Peter Sanders is the Public Information Director at the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). Previously, he served as the Deputy Mayor for Communications and Spokesman for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa. In this role, he worked extensively in both strategic and crisis communications and developed relationships with dozens of journalists across the local, national and international media landscape. Mr. Sanders also served a seven-year tenure as a Staff Reporter in the Los Angeles bureau of The Wall Street Journal and six years as a paramedic in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Austin. He is a longtime FAA-licensed private pilot, serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the United States Navy Reserve and holds the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade). Since 2012, the Sanders Charitable Fund has provided grants to Partnership schools for field trips through the Experience LA program.
Traci Taylor currently teaches at Ritter Elementary School and serves on the school’s Teacher Leadership team in which she models best practices for student achievement and teacher growth. She is an active member of the Partnership’s Teacher Peer Observer program, having completed both the observation and the coaching cycles, and she serves on the Partnership’s Teacher Advisory Board, which advises CEO, Joan Sullivan, on setting network-wide priorities. Previously, Ms. Taylor taught at the Watts Learning Center, a charter school in South Los Angeles, for seven years. During her time there, she led a team of teachers and facilitated the exchange of best practices and instructional strategies for improving student support and performance. She supported parents through a parent academy and led workshops to help parents deepen their understanding of the instructional shifts at schools.
Diana Torres is a commercial litigation and intellectual property partner at the international law firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Ms. Torres focuses her practice on intellectual property, trade secrets and unfair competition matters, and has a diverse portfolio of clients, including entertainment and media companies, internet service providers, electronics and consumer products manufacturers, and financial institutions. Prior to joining Kirkland, Ms. Torres was a partner at O’Melveny & Myers LLP. She has been consistently recognized in The Legal 500 U.S. for excellence in both copyright and trademark litigation, listed in The Best Lawyers in America from 2010-2015, in the area of Intellectual Property Law, and selected as a “California Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine every year since 2009. Ms. Torres is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mexican American Bar Foundation, Commissioner and former Vice President of the City of Los Angeles Convention Center Mayor’s Advisory Commission, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mexican American Bar Foundation. She was Chair and member on the Board of Directors of Crystal Stairs, Inc., and a member of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF) Scholarship Committee. Ms. Torres completed her undergraduate degree at Princeton University and received her J.D. from Yale Law School.
Marshall Tuck is currently an Educator in Residence at the New Teacher Center (NTC), a national non-profit dedicated to improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers, veteran teachers and school leaders. Prior to his work at NTC, Tuck was a candidate for California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Before running for State Superintendent, Tuck served as founding CEO of the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s groundbreaking collaboration with the Los Angeles Unified School District to operate 16 struggling public elementary, middle, and high schools. Prior to launching the Partnership, Tuck served as President of Green Dot Public Schools, a leading charter school operator based in Los Angeles. Before devoting his career to helping students, Tuck was an executive at Model N, a successful enterprise software company based in the Bay Area. Prior to that, he worked in finance, and spent a year teaching and doing service work internationally, primarily in Zimbabwe and Thailand. Mr. Tuck graduated from UCLA and Harvard Business School.
Board Officers (non-voting)
As the Chief Executive Officer of the Partnership for LA Schools, Joan Sullivan oversees all aspects of the organization to ensure students receive a quality education. Prior to her post as CEO, Ms. Sullivan served as the Deputy Mayor of Education for Los Angeles. In that role, she oversaw Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s education policy agenda, working closely with the superintendent and board president to transform the nation’s second largest school district. She also oversaw the Partnership to accelerate student achievement at scale within the district’s lowest performing schools.
Ms. Sullivan previously spent over a decade in the South Bronx as the founding principal of a high-poverty, high-performing public secondary school and as a high school social studies teacher, helping during this time to create and support a network of small public schools. Before entering the classroom Ms. Sullivan worked on Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential campaign, documenting her experiences in a memoir entitled An American Voter, published in 2002.
She began her career working for the Civilian Complaint Review Board, a New York City agency charged with investigating police misconduct. Ms. Sullivan is a graduate of the Broad Fellowship for Education Leadership, holds a M.S. in School Leadership and graduated with a B.A. in American Studies from Yale College, where she earned All-American honors in lacrosse.
Mikelle Willis serves as the Chief Strategy & Operating Officer for the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Ms. Willis brings an MBA from Pepperdine University and over 17 years of experience in K-12 education, including a strong balance of school-site and system-level leadership, to the Partnership. She began her career teaching at Jane Addams Elementary School in Long Beach before joining Teach for America, Los Angeles as Director of Operational Support. She subsequently spent five years as a middle school principal before becoming the Director of New Site Development at the KIPP Foundation, where she was responsible for selecting and managing the organization's expansion into new communities. She most recently served as the Senior Director, Principal Preparation Programs, where she oversaw the leadership development of all aspiring school leaders for KIPP nationally.
Shauwea Hamilton serves as Chief External Relations Officer and brings over 15 years of external affairs and communications experience from a variety of sectors including public education, energy, and healthcare. Most recently, Ms. Hamilton served as the Executive Director for Strategic Partnerships and the Superintendent’s Office at Newark Public Schools (NPS), New Jersey’s largest school district. During that time, she oversaw several departments including: out-of-school-time, call center, communications, and external affairs, as well as the management of the Superintendent’s team.
Prior to joining NPS, Ms. Hamilton was the Manager of Community Affairs at Public Service Enterprise Group, an energy company, where she also served as the Program Officer for the Corporate Foundation in both Education and Community & Economic Development. She has also worked as a contract lobbyist and served as Chief of Staff & Executive Director of Marketing for a healthcare facility.
Ms. Hamilton received her BA in Psychology and Art History from Rutgers University and earned a graduate Certificate in Communications from LaSalle University, with a focus on Public Relations. She holds an MBA from Fordham University Graduate School of Business with concentrations in Marketing and Management.