Our Vision is every public school in California has engaged students, effective teachers and leaders, enriching environments that allow every student to reach his or her full potential, and supportive communities that believe in the value and quality of public education.

The organization is anchored by a small professional staff, an engaged Board of Directors, a complement of highly skilled and effective consultants, strong partnerships with the California Department of Education (CDE) and other education coalition members, foundations and corporations, and a network of individuals, educational institutions, and nonprofits across the state who share our commitment to public education and California’s students.


Since CDE Foundation’s Inception:

  • CDE Foundation has raised $32+ million dollars to support innovative programs at the California Department of Education (CDE) and across the state

  • Increased access to professional development in STEAM

  • Supported districts in implementing new state standards and developing collaborative relationships

  • Garnered resources to develop further recommendations for California on its new accountability system, teacher support, STEAM, and education technology


Curtiss Sarikey
Curtiss Sarikey Vice-Chair
Curtiss Sarikey is currently Chief of Staff with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and brings over thirty years of experience in social work and education.
Erika Jones
Erika JonesBoard Member
Erika has taught grades K-5 in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 2005, and in addition to serving on the CDEF Board, she is currently serving as a member of the California Teachers Association Board of Directors.
Gerald Solomon
Gerald SolomonSecretary
Gerald Solomon is the retired Executive Director for the Samueli Foundation, a long time supporter of education in California.
Janet Auer
Janet AuerTreasurer
Janet Auer is the retired senior adviser for Global Investment at Chevron Corporation. She was responsible for overseeing Chevron’s education investment initiatives.
Ken Maxey
Ken MaxeyBoard Member
Ken Maxey works as a Public Affairs Manager for Comcast. In this role Ken coordinates with local government representatives throughout the Bay Area to advocate on behalf of progressive telecommunications policies at the state and local level.
Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez
Nancy Kirshner-RodriguezChair
Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez, Partner and co-founder of Synergy Public Affairs has been a leader in intergovernmental and community relations for more than 25 years.
Paul Granillo
Paul GranilloBoard Member
A native of the Inland Empire, Paul was born and raised in Redlands. In 2010, Paul became President & CEO of Inland Empire Economic Partnership.
Socorro Shiels
Socorro ShielsBoard Member
Ms. Shiels is an educational advocate, currently serving as the Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Employment Officer for the City of Santa Rosa and previously serving as the Superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District (SVUSD).
Terri Gomez
Terri GomezBoard Member
Terri Gomez, Ph.D., serves as the Associate Provost for Student Success, Equity & Innovation at Cal Poly Pomona.

Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world.

Nelson Mandela


Anna Reynoso
Anna ReynosoProgram Manager
Anna joined the CDE Foundation in the summer of 2023. She brings over 15 years of experience in public and private sector to the role, and will be working with the CA LMI team to strengthen labor management partnerships across the state!
Dalia Huerta
Dalia HuertaProgram Coordinator
Dalia joined the CDE Foundation in the summer of 2023. Prior to working at CDEF, she provided administrative, technical, and budget management support at a public university in Southern California
Diana Meza
Diana MezaAssociate Director
Diana joined the CDE Foundation in early 2024 to work with the California Family and Community Engagement Initiative. Prior to working at CDEF, she provided communications, strategic planning and public relations support to the County, higher education and K-12 schools.
Ed Honowitz
Ed HonowitzChief Executive Officer
Ed joined CDE Foundation in October 2016 to lead the CA Labor Management Initiative. He comes to us with a background in education policy, serving as education policy adviser for State Senator Carol Liu, who chaired the California Senate Education Committee.
Elvia De La Torre
Elvia De La TorreDirector of Grants & Operations
Elvia joined our team in the summer of 2023. Prior to working at CDEF, Elvia worked in the nonprofit and education sectors, overseeing programs, evaluations and impact for Early Head Start and School Readiness programs. elvia@cdefoundation.org
Glennon Stratton
Glennon StrattonDirector, STEAM Initiatives
Glennon joined the CDE Foundation in the summer of 2019. His experience as a leader, strategic thinker and program manager in large school districts and nonprofits focused on youth development will help advance our mission.
Gustavo Morales
Gustavo MoralesDirector, CA Labor Management Initiative
Gustavo joined the CDE Foundation in September 2019. As a collaborative leader, he’s helped strengthen and expand the Labor Management Initiative across the state. gustavo@cdefoundation.org
Jacquelyn Ollison
Jacquelyn OllisonDirector, CA Teacher Residency Lab
Jacquelyn joined the CDE Foundation in January 2020 and is excited to launch, lead and train teachers across the state through the residency lab! jacquelyn@cdefoundation.org
Karyn Warner
Karyn WarnerAssociate Director, STEAM Initiatives
Karyn joined our team in the summer of 2019. Prior to working at CDEF, Karyn worked in the Redwood City School District and is the co-founder of the Bright Futures: Equitable Access to Learning in the Digital Age Conference which brought together Bay Area educators, researchers and ed-tech developers to share best practices. karyn@cdefoundation.org
Kate Herman
Kate HermanResidency Analyst
Kate joined the CDE Foundation in early 2024 to work closely with the Teacher Residency Lab. She comes with a wealth of experience in special education, PK-12 schools, inclusive teacher residency practices, and culturally responsive education. kate@cdefoundation.org
 Lisa Borrego
Lisa BorregoSenior Director
Lisa joined the CDE Foundation to lead the CA Family and Community Engagement Initiative in the fall of 2023. With over 25 years of experience in education and community engagement, her leadership will allow the initiative to expand and strenghen across the state. lisa@cdefoundation.org
Lynn Baltazar
Lynn BaltazarProgram Manager
Lynn joined the CDE Foundation and the STEAM Initiatives team in the summer of 2023. As a service-oriented professional, she had worked in various education-focused roles across diverse sectors such as a public university system and an academic medical center. lynn@cdefoundation.org
Yadira Guerrero
Yadira GuerreroProgram Manager
Yadira joined the CDE Foundation in May 2022. For over 10 years in previous roles, Yadira has supported the implementation of PreK-12 STEM programs throughout California! yadira@cdefoundation.org


THANK YOU to our funders for your continued investment in the California Department of Education’s (CDE) capacity and impact! We are grateful for your support that has funded key equity-centered initiatives making an impact across the state of California! Our key initiatives include the CA STEAM Symposium, the CA Labor Management Initiative, the CA Teacher Residency Lab, and the CA Alliance for Next Generation Science Standards (CA4NGSS), well as associated partnership efforts with CDE such as the Alliance for Continuous Improvement and the District Innovation and Leadership in Early Education (DIAL EE).

As the fiscal manager for CDE initiatives, the CDE Foundation is proud to support state-level, agency-led innovation in myriad areas of educational impact and equity. These include Education to End Hate and ongoing implicit bias and anti-racist training resources, a new Family Engagement unit, an Early Learning partnership with national and state experts, Youth Mental Health First Aid training infrastructure, the California Distinguished Schools Program, California Partnership Academies, Arts, Media and Entertainment (AME), general CDE capacity enhancements, and others in development. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have supported the launch and administration of the California Bridging the Digital Divide Fund, a joint effort of the California Department of Education, the Governor’s Office, the State Board of Education, and the CDE Foundation. Together we have an unprecedented opportunity to serve California students and educators in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic by ensuring equity of access to distance learning. We are incredibly grateful to the companies, private foundations, and individuals that have responded to state leaders’ requests to support the urgent need to bridge the digital divide for students in California.

Current and Previous Funders

  • AVID

  • Arnold Ventures

  • Association of California School Administrators

  • AT&T Foundation

  • Brandman University

  • Blue Shield of California

  • California Association of School Business Officials

  • California Casualty

  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

  • The California Endowment

  • Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club

  • Biomimicry Institute

  • Bioneers

  • Chevron

  • California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls

  • First 5 California

  • Heising-Simons Foundation

  • KQED

  • California Film Commission

  • California School Employees Association

  • California Teachers Association

  • Collaborative for Academic, Social & Emotional Learning

  • Comcast

  • Council of Chief State School Officers

  • Heising-Simons Foundation

  • Council of Chief State School Officers

  • Franklin Covey

  • General Motors

  • LEGO Education

  • Seek Common Ground

  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation

  • Silver Giving Foundation

  • Ten Strands

  • The California State University

  • The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

  • The Longview Foundation

  • National Center for Civic Innovation

  • The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

  • The Stuart Foundation

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Schools First Federal Credit Union

  • Silver Giving Foundation

  • The Sobrato Family Foundation

  • University of La Verne

  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

  • The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation

  • The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

  • The Sobrato Family Foundation

  • The Stuart Foundation

  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

  • Thompson Family Foundation

  • WestEd