Meet the diverse and dedicated staff of the National Equity Project.
LaShawn Routé Chatmon, Executive Director
Lchatmon (at) nationalequityproject.org
LaShawn Routé Chatmon is the founding Executive Director of the National Equity Project, leading the organization’s transition from the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools (BayCES). Under her leadership, the National Equity Project has become one of the leading voices in a movement to change the conversation and approach used to achieve racial equity in education. LaShawn previously served as a coach and director of the high school redesign initiative, where her team pioneered new school design processes, principal network development and site coaching that transformed educational experiences and outcomes for teachers and students in Oakland, CA.
Prior to joining the National Equity Project, LaShawn served as a teacher and leader at Redwood Day School, Alameda, CA; The Wheeler School, Providence, RI; and Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA. While at Berkeley High, she served as Co-Director for The Diversity Project with Dr. Pedro Noguera at the University of California at Berkeley. The Diversity Project is a school-university action research project designed to address the disparity in achievement between white students and students of color and to investigate the causes of racial separation.
LaShawn is a contributing author in the book Unfinished Business: Closing the Racial Achievement Gap in Schools and has presented at numerous education conferences and convenings across the country. She was a MetLife Teaching Fellow, and is currently a LeaderSpring ED Fellow. LaShawn earned a B.A. in political science from University of California, Berkeley; a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Brown University; and an Administrative Credential from California State University, Sacramento’s Urban Leadership Program. LaShawn is a California native and resides in Oakland, CA with her husband and their three sons.
Stephen Chang, Managing Director
schang (at) nationalequityproject.org
Stephen Chang started his education career as a school counselor in Berkeley, California. Since joining the National Equity Project in 1996, he has supported leadership and organizational development for over 20 school districts and educational organizations across 10 states and project managed multiple high school redesigns. He is based in Denver, CO where he served as a high school administrator before rejoining the National Equity Project in June 2016. He earned his B.A. in psychology from Cornell University and his M.S. in clinical psychology from the Pennsylvania State University.
Lisa Lasky, Managing Director
Llasky (at) nationalequityproject.org
Lisa Lasky has worked in education for over 25 years as a teacher, leader, school and district coach, and has led several organizational and system change projects across the country. Before joining the National Equity Project in 1995, Lisa worked with Theodore Sizer at the national office of the Coalition of Essential Schools – a national school reform movement that began with five high schools and expanded to thousands of schools and several centers across the country.
She moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast to grow a local center (BayCES). As a founding member of our organization, Lisa has served in many roles including Associate Director, Director of Elementary and Middle Schools, Director of the School Grants Program and Deputy Director. She currently leads our Leadership Development and Coaching Division – overseeing support and services to a portfolio of clients from California to Mississippi. Lisa holds a B.A. in Sociology and English from the State University of New York, College at Cortland and an M.A. in Education from UC Berkeley.
Victor Cary, Director of Organizational Learning & People Development
Vcary (at) nationalequityproject.org
Victor Cary has worked in education for over 40 years, starting as a high school teacher in Richmond, CA. As Senior Director at the National Equity Project, he leads the development of our equity-centered coaching and leadership model, and currently facilitates Leading in C.A.O.S. (Complex, Adaptive, Oppressive Systems) with educators and communities across the country, particularly collective action initiatives.
Prior to joining the National Equity Project, Victor served as Director of the California Alliance for Mathematics and Science (CAMS) Initiative – a statewide initiative aligning secondary and post-secondary institutions around mathematics. He also served as Director for Regional Center and School Support in the national office of the Coalition for Essential Schools. He received his B.A. and Teaching Secondary Credential from UC Berkeley, and M.A. in Education from Stanford University.
Sara Gray, Director of Communications and Marketing
sgray (at) nationalequityproject.org
Sara joined the National Equity Project in 2006 and has played many roles in the organization. Prior to joining the National Equity Project, Sara worked in nonprofits spanning the arts, advocacy, and criminal justice. Sara holds B.A. in American Studies from Trinity College and is pursuing a certificate in Graphic Design from UC Berkeley.
Colm Davis, Co-Director, Center for Equity Leadership
cdavis (at) nationalequityproject.org
Colm has extensive experience coaching principals, district leaders, leadership teams, and Professional Learning Communities to improve instruction and support the development of effective learning partnerships with historically underserved students. Together with Mark Salinas, Colm co-leads our Center for Equity Leadership, which offers professional development services, networking and community events, and our Leading for Equity Fellowship program – all in service of building equity-focused leadership at multiple levels. Prior to joining the National Equity Project in 2004, Colm worked as a Fellow Advisor for the New York City Teaching Fellows, developing curricula for the Fellows program, teaching a graduate course on curriculum and instruction, and coaching new teachers. In addition to teaching pre-school children in Head Start programs, Colm taught English and Core Humanities at Satellite High School in New York City. Colm received his B.A. from Carleton College and his M.A. in English Education from New York University.
Mark Salinas, Co-Director, Center for Equity Leadership
msalinas (at) nationalequityproject.org
Mark has worked for the National Equity Project since 2002. He provides facilitative and instructional leadership coaching, as well as professional development to district leaders, principals, teacher leaders and teams. Mark was born and raised in San Francisco, and attended San Francisco public schools. He received his B.A. from San Francisco State University in African American Studies, as well as his Teaching Credential. Prior to joining the National Equity Project, Mark helped start a new high school in San Francisco where he taught and coordinated grade level teams, as well as a variety of student leadership groups. In the mid-90’s, Mark taught one of four pilot Academic Literacy courses that became the foundational work for the nationally recognized Reading Apprenticeship framework for the Strategic Literacy Initiative (SLI). Mark has a passion for working with students furthest from opportunity, and has spent several summers leading intervention programs for middle school students in New Orleans, Berkeley, CA, and San Rafael, CA. Mark is a proud parent of two young boys and a self-described “family guy.”
Tom Malarkey, Regional Director, Pacific Northwest & Design Services
tmalarkey (at) nationalequityproject.org
Tom has worked with the National Equity Project since 1996 and specializes in equity-centered inquiry practice with teachers, teams, and whole schools. He is a lead developer of our Partnerships for Learning services. For the last twenty-five years, he has focused his work on urban schools, teachers, and students. He has taught high school English and first grade, and was the director of the Summerbridge Program in San Francisco, an academic empowerment program for middle school students. Tom holds an M.A. in international development education from Stanford University and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Education at UC Berkeley, focusing on the dynamics of collaborative teacher inquiry and its relationship to equity and urban school change. In addition to being a school and leadership coach at the Project, he has co-led the Teacher Inquiry Project and led the Inquiry for Equity Network. You can read his article, “Inquiry for Equity: What Does it Mean for Teacher Research?” here.
Kathleen Osta, Regional Director, Midwest Region
kosta (at) nationalequityproject.org
Kathleen rejoined the National Equity Project in 2015 as the Regional Director of our Midwest Region. Kathleen previously served our Associate Director before leaving to do independent consulting for a few years. During her 12 years in the organization, Kathleen delivered professional development and provided coaching services to school, district, and community leaders, collaborated on the development of a Coaching for Educational Equity methodology, and was responsible for program development and operational management of the organization. She previously worked as a School Social Worker and Project Facilitator for the Comer School Development Program in the Chicago Public Schools where she led the development of school-community partnerships and facilitated multi-disciplinary teams responsible for meeting the academic and social emotional needs of children and families. Kathleen has also served as a bilingual kindergarten teacher and has done extensive research on educational approaches aimed at meeting the needs of racially and culturally diverse learners. Kathleen earned her undergraduate degree from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio and a Masters in Social Work from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
Brett Bradshaw, Senior Associate
bbradshaw (at) nationalequityproject.org
Brett joined the National Equity Project to support our expansion of Leading for Equity services in January 2010. He works with partners in the Midwest including the Kellogg Foundation on racial equity initiatives in school districts and communities, and contributes to program development, fundraising, and other areas. He has expertise in Promise Neighborhoods and Collective Impact initiatives. Previously, Brett was Senior Director of Strategic Communications at the Coalition of Essential Schools, where he developed and implemented its national communications and advocacy agenda. Previously, he taught elementary school in Los Angeles and was a member of the founding leadership team of a small, autonomous high school in Austin, Texas. He holds an M.A. in public affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School at the University of Texas.
Dana Fitchett, Events Manager
dfitchett (at) nationalequityproject.org
Dana recently moved to the Bay after having been born and raised in the Boston area, and returning to Boston after attending college in New York. Prior to landing at NEP, she worked with Oakland’s Family Independence Initiative and also with multiple education and social justice organizations in Boston, including the Boston Compact, the Wheelock College Aspire Institute, and the Steppingstone Foundation. Most of her work has focused on justice in schools, transformative family engagement, and support and retention of teachers of color. In addition to her innate passion for justice, Dana has an insatiable appetite for dance, music, and art. She holds an A.B. in Urban Studies from Vassar College and a certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Tufts University’s Institute for Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Dana is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Art, with a focus on decolonization and identity reconciliation through creative expression, from Goddard College.
Heidi Gill, Senior Associate
hgill (at) nationalequityproject.org
Heidi has extensive experience coaching principals and teachers and leading professional development both site-based at schools and through leadership cohorts. She re-joined the National Equity Project staff in 2009. Most recently Heidi was a coach in Emery Unified School District supporting teachers and administrators. She is a leader of our Teaching for Equity services, responsible for program and staff development. Heidi has over 20 years of K-8 teaching experience, including middle school math and science. She has also worked as a literacy consultant, and focused her Master’s work on teacher inquiry.
Ana Moreno, Associate
amoreno (at) nationalequityproject.org
Ana joined the National Equity Project in 2017. As an Associate, she provides facilitative and instructional leadership coaching, as well as professional development to district leaders, principals, teacher leaders and teams. The foundation of Ana’s career is 15 years as a classroom teacher in diverse settings and with various age groups. She has taught elementary and middle school in Texas, New York City, Oakland and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Most recently, she was an Associate Program Director at the New Teacher Center where she worked in partnership with OUSD’s Early Childhood Education Department to improve the quality of teaching and learning in early childhood programs. She collaborated with various stakeholders, lead the early learning policy and advocacy initiative and designed and facilitated professional learning opportunities for site administrators and teacher leaders. Ana has a passion for supporting adults working in schools to create and sustain a culture where all students feel a sense of belonging. Ana was born and raised in Oakland and holds B.A. from Pomona College and an M.A. in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Asha Sitaram, Associate & Research Lead
Asitaram (at) nationalequityproject.org
Asha joined the National Equity Project in January 2013. In her role, she both facilitates professional learning experiences for district/organizational leaders, principals, and teacher leaders, and provides expertise in the design and execution of the organization’s research services in order to help clients better sense and understand their contexts and articulate their equity challenges.
Prior to joining NEP, Asha lived in Mumbai, India, and worked at the Akanksha Foundation, an organization focused on serving children from urban communities that are situated further away from opportunity. At Akanksha, Asha taught third grade social science and also designed and led a year-long fellowship program to prepare educators for leadership roles in the organization’s growing network of schools.
Asha’s pre-NEP research experience includes leading and publishing participatory research on women’s health, community development, and disaster resilience across six states in India. In addition, her M.A. thesis completed at Stanford’s program in International Educational Administration and Policy Analysis focused on South African history education and the development of students’ critical consciousness. Asha loves dance and taught as well as performed classical Indian dance for over a decade in Canada where she grew up. She also enjoys travel, snowboarding, meditation, and time with her nephews.
Rodney Thomas, Senior Associate
rthomas (at) nationalequityproject.org
Rodney Thomas joined the National Equity Project in August 2016. Most recently he was Special Assistant to the Superintendent in Madison, Wisconsin and responsible for the implementation and design of district wide strategic initatives. Rodney began his career as an 8th grade teacher in Chicago Public Schools where he was honored as Teacher of the Year. After spending several years in the classroom, Rodney transitioned into the private sector and worked for several fortune 500 companies (Accenture, Motorola, Unilever, ABN AMRO) with a focus on organizational development and design, executive coaching, change management and leadership development. Rodney made the decision to come back to Chicago Public Schools and was responsible for several large scale projects from the implementation of Freshman On Track to the co-creation of The Chicago Leadership Collaborative, a principal training and support program. Rodney currently resides in Chicago and is the proud father of a teenage daughter and mentor to many.
Asali Waters, Associate
awaters (at) nationalequityproject.org
Asali Waters-Rolleri joined the National Equity Project in 2017 after 24 years as an educator in public and independent schools. In 2016, she was a National Equity Project Leading for Equity Fellow. Asali is passionate about adult learning, instruction, and youth development, and is known for supporting learning communities with engaging in collaborative reflection, inquiry, and experiential learning.
Asali taught at Berkeley High School in Berkeley, CA, and Lincoln School in Providence, RI, and was an administrator for the San Leandro Unified and Oakland Unified school districts. In 2004, Asali joined Oakland Unified’s New Small Schools movement where she led the design and was a founding middle school principal. She was a district manager for Oakland’s K-12 Expanded Learning programs for ten years where she supported compliance, professional development, operations and the coordination of continuous program quality improvement in partnership with community based organizations.
Asali received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University, and an Administrative Credential from California State University, East Bay. Asali was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. She currently resides in Alameda, California with her husband and son.
Hugh Vasquez, Senior Associate
hvasquez (at) nationalequityproject.org
Hugh Vasquez joined the National Equity Project as a Senior Associate in January 2010 with responsibility for developing and expanding our Leading for Equity work. He works with a range of school district and nonprofit partners to plan and implement racial equity initiatives. He was most recently the Executive Director of the San Francisco Education Fund, a non-profit working to bring educational equity to public schools. Hugh is a partner with the Center for Diversity Leadership and the founder of the Todos Institute in Oakland, whose mission is to help individuals and groups heal from the effects of oppression, build cross-cultural alliances, and create environments where youths and adults from all cultures are honored, valued, and respected. Hugh has worked with hundreds of organizations to establish diversity initiatives and has provided training to thousands of individuals. He is a presenter with Speak Out, a national organization providing top speakers on social justice topics. He is a primary cast member in the award-winning film The Color of Fear and appeared with the rest of the cast on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Hugh is also the lead facilitator in the film Skin Deep, a documentary on race relations with college students. He has co-authored the books No Boundaries: Unlearning Oppression and Building Multicultural Alliances and Making Allies Making Friends: A Curriculum For Middle Schools, as well as published various articles on strengthening cultural roots and eliminating privileged systems. Hugh has a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.