Shelly Masur, CEO

Shelly Masur became the CEO of Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation in February 2014. She brings over twenty years of experience working with youth-serving non-profits and in education-related leadership roles to CDEF.

Shelly is a well-known and recognized leader in the education community having been named in 2013 one of the “100 Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal for her work in education. She is a City Council Member in Redwood City and a former school board member in the Redwood City School District in San Mateo County, where she served for 10 years.

She is a frequent speaker on developing and operating community-school and civic partnerships to leverage funding and improve outcomes for children, and on successful community outreach and communication.

Shelly holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health and lives in Redwood City with her husband and two of her high school-aged children. Shelly also has a daughter away at college.

Jessica Howard, Program Director, STEM Initiatives and Student Health and Wellness

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Jessica joined the CDE Foundation as an Education Pioneers fellow in June 2014 and now serves as Program Director. In this capacity, she focuses on student health and wellness initiatives, including strategic planning, partnerships, and programs such as Team California for Healthy Kids and the CA CDE/COE Attendance Peer Learning Network. She also helms CDEF’s STEM initiatives, such as our annual STEM Symposium and the California Alliance for Next Generation Science Standards (CA4NGSS) coalition.

Prior to joining the CDE Foundation, Jessica worked in higher education as an undergraduate admissions officer at the University of Southern California and as a Congressional district staff member. She holds a M.S.Ed. in Education Policy from the University of Pennsylvania with focus on student health and early childhood education and a B.A. in Art History from Williams College. Based in Los Angeles, Jessica also volunteers with several non-profits in the Southern California region to support equity in expanded student services, arts education, and college access.

Adam Ebrahim, Director of Implementation, Collaboration in Common


Adam Ebrahim is a former secondary English Language Arts, History, and Design Technology teacher from Fresno, California. He has also served as a Literacy Consultant for the Fresno County Office of Education. Adam has been closely involved with several statewide projects on teacher leadership, professional learning, labor-management collaboration, and accountability and continuous improvement.

Adam on Collaboration in Common“The most powerful source of my own growth as a professional educator was the wisdom and support of other educators. Connecting educators through Collaboration in Common across the state of California around the things that matter most in their classrooms is extremely exciting.” 

Wendy Dougherty, Senior Project Director, Family Engagement in the LCAP Process

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Wendy joined the CDE Foundation as Senior Project Director for Family Engagement in the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Process in October 2016. She brings to the CDE Foundation significant experience managing and evaluating domestic and international PreK-12 education programs. Wendy is a Teach For America alumna and began her career as a bilingual elementary teacher in Compton. She later pursued international development and worked for the World Bank and with USAID, Ministries of Education and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Africa, Asia and Latin America on projects to improve the quality of teaching and learning and promote gender equity.

Wendy has significant consulting experience from her work at KPMG providing strategic advice on grant making effectiveness and measuring social impact for international funders, private foundations, and public charities. At WestEd, she provided consulting services to state-level education agencies and associations in the area of standards, assessment and accountability.

She most recently was engaged on The Big Lift collective impact initiative with Daly City Partnership and Jefferson Elementary School District, one of seven districts participating in the San Mateo County collective impact initiative aimed at improving PreK-3rd grade literacy, focused on high-quality preschool, reducing chronic absence, providing summer learning, and engaging families to support learning in school and at home.

Wendy lives in San Carlos with her husband and 8 year-old daughter. Wendy has served as a PTA Board Member and is a member of the American Evaluation Association. Wendy received her Master of International Affairs from UCSD’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, and her B.A. from Duke University.

Ed Honowitz, Project Director, California Labor Management Initiative


Ed joined the CDE Foundation in October 2016. He comes to us with a background in education policy. Ed served as education policy advisor for State Senator Carol Liu, who chaired the California Senate Education Committee. His work in the Senate focused on K-12 education policy, school-based health, community schools partnership strategies and cross agency collaboration. Ed was a school board member in the Pasadena Unified School District for 12 years. He was elected twice as a member of the California School Boards Association delegate assembly and served on the School Boards Association legislative and conference committees.

Ed has presented at both the California and National School Boards Association annual conferences on community engagement, arts education and community school collaboration and at the California League of Cities annual conference. 

Ed is currently a board member of the California Alliance for Arts Education and is a member of the Public Engagement Panel of Advisors for the Institute for Local Government.

Ed and his wife live in Pasadena.  Their three children are products of Pasadena public schools and the University of California System.  Go Bears and Gauchos!

Neetu Balram, Communications Manager

Neetu joined the CDE Foundation as the Communications Manager in January 2015. She comes to us with a background in planning and executing outreach and communications campaigns to support the passage of public finance ballot measures for rural, urban, and suburban school districts across California, as well as other public agencies. Her experiences working with local parents, teachers, and school and district administrators have given her a unique perspective on the important role these partnerships among the adults play in providing all students with a high quality education.

At this critical time for California’s public school system, Neetu’s work includes communications for the California Alliance for the Next Generation Science Standards, specifically providing organizations with clear, consistent messaging about the ongoing work to successfully implement the California Next Generation Science Standards.

Neetu lives in Oakland and holds a B.A. in both Economics and History from the University of California, San Diego.

Pablo Lopez, Administrative Coordinator

Pablo Lopez facilitates the organizational aspect of the CDE Foundation as the Administrative Coordinator. He also assists the CEO with daily scheduling and administrative assignments. Pablo prides himself on his ability to create efficient, streamlined systems of record keeping to improve the functionality of the organization.

Prior to joining the CDE Foundation, Pablo worked as a Coordinator for a non-profit and helped build a “Reading to Dogs” program. Volunteers for this program help improve the reading proficiency of children in low-literacy classrooms by having them read to their pets. Within two months of involvement with this program, these children’s grade levels for reading have increased by at least one grade.

Pablo holds a B.A. in Sociology from San Jose State University. His passion for social programs fuels his desire to rebuild and improve our education system.