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 catalyzed a movement to revitalize our country’s approach to racial equity in education. LaShawn previously served as a coach and director of BayCES’ 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, a LeaderSpring ED Fellow, and a Pahara 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.
Follow LaShawn on Twitter @lashawnrchatmon and see her in person at the following events:
- White Privilege Conference, March 20-23, Cedar Rapids, IA
- Othering & Belonging Conference, April 8-10, Oakland, CA
- BARR National Conference, April 11, Minneapolis, MN
For speaker inquiries please contact Sara Gray at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juan Alegria, Associate
Juan joined the National Equity Project in February 2019, bringing more than 30 years experience in nonprofit management, including 18 years of leadership experience in educational reform, community schools and violence prevention. Most recently, Juan served as Executive Director of the San Jose Obrero Mission in Chicago.
Emmile Brack, Managing Director of Operations & Finance
ebrack (at) nationalequityproject.org
Emmile has over 10 years of nonprofit management experience in the areas of strategy, growth, data, technology and operations. Prior to joining the National Equity Project, Emmile supported nonprofit organizations as an independent consultant to revamp their theories of change, core values and strategic plans as well as analyze their data and operational processes, using a more intentional equity lens. Before striking out on her own, Emmile was Vice President of Operations for Schoolzilla, a public-benefit corporation that creates data tools for school leaders, and worked at Aspire Public Schools for 7 years, serving as Chief of Staff and Vice President of Operations. Emmile is also a proud Leading for Equity Fellow, having participated in the inaugural cohort. Emmile earned her MBA from The George Washington University and her bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University.
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.
Erin Bruner, Midwest Project Manager
ebruner (at) nationalequityproject.org
Erin joined NEP in December 2018. She previously worked in local Public Health as a Project Specialist for the Community Health Promotion Division. In this role, she refined her skills in administrative and operational management and discovered a need to dedicate her work to supporting equitable outcomes for all. Erin has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Iowa and now resides in Wisconsin with her family.
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.
Follow Victor on Twitter @victorcarynep and see him in person at the following events:
- American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting, April 5-9, 2019, Toronto, Canada | Presenting on Leveraging Collaborative Strength to Develop District Racial Equity Leadership
- Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2019 Summit Pre-Conference Course on Leading for Equity in Complex, Adaptive Systems, April 16, 2019 with Tom Malarkey
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 2006, 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 2016. He earned his B.A. in psychology from Cornell University and his M.S. in clinical psychology from the Pennsylvania State University.
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.
Erik Fermin, Associate
Erik joined the National Equity Project in March 2019, after having served the Grand Rapids, MI community through healthcare as a Community Health Educator, and through nonprofit work as a Refugee Employment Specialist. He received his Master of Social Work degree from Grand Valley State University, having been recognized by the National Association of Social Workers as the 2014 Student of the Year, and his Master of Public Administration soon thereafter. Erik has a history of working towards equitable outcomes for people that have been historically exploited, disempowered, and disenfranchised, being himself a product of those communities, through engagement, advocacy, education and a commitment to life-long learning. He has served Latino, African American, and refugee populations in his work of empowerment, and has facilitated men’s groups on subjects such as domestic violence and substance use. Erik believes that the vehicle for change is education that provokes critical thinking, honest discussion, and targeted action. His family is Dominican, and he is from the Bronx, NY. He enjoys performing spoken word, playing basketball, and hanging out with his family.
Matthew Florence, Black Teacher Project Development Director
mflorence (at) blackteacherproject.org
Matthew, a Southern native, has been working in the nonprofit industry since the 90’s and brings a wealth of experience. He’s worked in the areas of HIV/AIDS, LGBT community, Black and Latino community and health, and technology for nonprofits as a program director, executive director, and consultant.
Matthew credits Mrs. Horton, his seventh grade and first Black Teacher, with pushing him to excel in school. She also helped him to believe that math was something he could do and enjoy. Matthew pursued this love through high school where he was so excited he finished his entire geometry book in six weeks. However, his freshman calculus class at Harvard kicked his butt and sent him running toward literature, his other passion. Today, Matthew’s love of the human story keeps him writing both professionally and for pleasure.
Edrina Flowers, Accounts Payable/HR/Payroll Specialist
ap (at) nationalequityproject.org
Edrina joined the National Equity Project in Summer 2017 to manage our Accounts Payable and Human Resources. She brings over 24 years of accounting experience including 17 years at LeapFrog Enterprises. Edrina also serves as the Assistant Treasurer in her church community. Oakland born and raised, she enjoys spending time with her 3 children, family and friends.
Eric Franklin, Accounts Receivable/Contracts Specialist Contractor
efranklin (at) nationalequityproject.org
Bio coming soon!
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.
Sara Gray, Director of Communications & 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.
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.
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. Read his article, “Inquiry for Equity: What Does it Mean for Teacher Research?”
Follow Tom on Twitter @tommalarkey and see him in person at the following events:
- Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 2019 Summit Pre-Conference Course on Leading for Equity in Complex, Adaptive Systems, April 16, 2019 with Victor Cary
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.
Micia Mosely, Ph.D, Executive Director, Black Teacher Project
micia (at) blackteacherproject.org
Micia Mosely, Ph.D., has dedicated her career to helping students reach their full creative and academic potential. A teacher, analyst and product of public education, she designs custom reform strategies that help educators and administrators increase equity while maximizing school performance. Mosely brings a wealth of classroom experience to her work, infusing bold strategies with real-world approaches that understand the burdens faced by educators and administrators.
She is an expert on leadership, cultural competence, data-based inquiry and school design. Mosely began her career as the Social Studies department head at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School in San Francisco, CA and received her Ph.D. in Education, with an emphasis on Social and Cultural Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.
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.
Linda Ponce de León, Associate
lponcedeleon (at) nationalequityproject.org
Linda Ponce de León rejoined the National Equity Project in 2018 as an Associate on the Midwest team. She is a native of Chicago. Linda rejoins the National Equity Project with more than 20 years of leadership experience in early childhood, professional development, organizational development and experience managing high performing teams. She brings a wealth of experience at the classroom, school and district level in Chicago, the Midwest, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Linda is a Teach for America Alumni Corps ’93 and started her career as a 3rd grade bilingual teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Chicago Public Schools. Linda led a design team in designing a K-3rd grade elementary charter school in Chicago and had the honor of serving as its founding principal for several years. Throughout her career, she has worked to support a future in which a child’s success in school is not predetermined by any social or cultural factor. Linda has an Ed.M. in human development and psychology from Harvard University and a B.A. in psychology from Williams College.
Chantelli Price, Program Assistant
cprice (at) nationalequityproject.org
Chantelli joined NEP in January 2018. She manages the operations and logistics of our Oakland office as well as providing administrative support for client projects. Chantelli previously served as Property Manager at The Sierra at Jack London Square and lives in Oakland with her son. She is currently pursuing a Liberal Arts degree at Merritt College.
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.”
Zach Serrano, Associate
zserrano (at) nationalequityproject.org
Bio coming soon!
Asha Sitaram, Associate & Research Lead
asitaram (at) nationalequityproject.org
Asha joined the National Equity Project in 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 2016. Most recently he was Special Assistant to the Superintendent in Madison, Wisconsin and responsible for the implementation and design of district wide strategic initiatives. 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.
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.
- Follow Hugh on Twitter @hughjvasquez
- Listen to Hugh on Speak Out with Tim Wise
- Watch Hugh on Cracking the Codes: Internalized Oppression
- Watch Hugh on Institutional Impact
Maggie Vizcarra, Events Manager
mvizcarra (at) nationalequityproject.org & email@example.com
Maggie joined NEP as Events Manager in 2018. Maggie previously worked in international public health, managing programs that increased the capacity of hospitals to address health needs in their communities and increase equitable access to care. Before that, she produced large-scale festivals at an arts and culture museum in Los Angeles. Maggie has a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a passion for soul music, mangoneadas, and the intersections of art and identity. Maggie’s resides in and loves Oakland but proudly represents her hometown, Long Beach, CA.
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.
Olivia Yarbough, Black Teacher Project Program Operations Manager
olivia (at) blackteacherproject.org
Olivia joined BTP/NEP in October 2018. She has a background working in theater, as a softball coach, leading women empowerment groups, and assisting youth in reaching their mental health goals. She has supported educational programming for both alternative high schools and college access initiatives. Olivia is driven in her work by the vision of an equitable education system that promotes a just society. In her free time she loves hiking, going to the beach, and listening to new music. Olivia graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s of science degree in Psychology.