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.
Click here to download a two-page overview of the Foundation and our work.
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
MEET OUR BOARD MEMBERS
Nancy Kirshner-Rodriguez, Chair
From 2014-2017, Nancy successfully transformed the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. With stabilized funding and innovative initiatives, like the California Pay Equity Task Force and an expanded STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) portfolio, including Million Women Mentors-CA and Engaging Girls in STEM, Nancy developed strategic partnerships and focused with deliberate purpose to change the lives of California’s women and girls.
Nancy led the Office of Government Affairs for the City and County of San Francisco for Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom when he was Mayor. She represented San Francisco on the Association of Bay Area Governments. In the private sector, overseeing the Consulting Division of an energy efficiency company, she focused on US Department of Energy and utility contracts, policy innovation and new business development.
During the Clinton Administration, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Relations at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and before that held a similar position at the US Department of Labor.
Nancy has advocated for Americans for Gun Safety and spent close to a decade as an official with the National Democratic Party. She served as Chief of Staff to the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee and also served as a senior member of Barbara Boxer’s first US Senate campaign in 1992.
Kirshner-Rodriguez was President of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women where she worked to create the internationally recognized Cities for CEDAW Campaign and championed local initiatives to reduce domestic violence and human trafficking. She recently completed eight years as the Board Treasurer of Emerge America. She currently serves on the National Leadership Council of Futures without Violence, on the Board of Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, and on the Board of the National Council of Jewish Women in San Francisco.
Nancy graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. She received the Alumnae Medal of Honor for her years of service to the college. She resides in San Rafael, CA with her husband Sam, and daughter Kira.
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. He was most recently at the Stuart Foundation from 2016-17 as Senior Director where he led work for the Foundation on educator leadership, labor management collaboration, and state level policy on continuous improvement and capacity building. He was also the Deputy Chief of Community Schools and Student Services in OUSD from 2011 to 2016. In 2016 Curtiss was awarded the Community Schools Initiative Leadership Award from the National Coalition for Community Schools. He was adjunct faculty for University of San Francisco School Counseling Program where he taught courses in family engagement and school improvement.
He spent 10 years with San Francisco Unified School District as a school social work and supervisor, 5 years as Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the East Bay, Inc., and 5 years with the US Navy as head of Oakland Naval Medical Center’s Family Advocacy Program. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee for the National Coalition for Community Schools, California State Social Emotional Learning Workgroup, and UCLA/Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission, and a board member with Peter Senge’s Systems Leadership Institute, Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation, and Region A Board Director of the California NASW. He has consulted with cities and school districts across the country in areas of collective impact, community schools and social emotional learning. Curtiss received a BA from the State University of New York at Geneseo and a Masters of Social Welfare from the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and has education pupil services and administrative credentials from San Francisco State University and Sonoma State University.
Janet Auer, Board Member
Auer has 30 years of experience working in various facets of Chevron. Previously, Auer worked as a legislative/communications specialist in government affairs. Prior to that, she served as a business analyst with Chevron Information Technology Company where she supported the company’s human resource system by acting as liaison between the business needs and technical needs of the company.
Auer is focused on education because she believes that students across all geographic areas should have access to programs that enhance rigorous project-based learning to prepare them for college and career.
Auer was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and still lives in the region.
Socorro Shiels, Board Member
Ms. Shiels proudly serves as the Superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District (SVUSD). SVUSD serves the city of Sonoma and the unincorporated Valley area between Glen Ellen and the Napa County border. She works alongside the proud and hardworking staff over 600 employees who educate and nurture nearly 4000 students across five elementary schools, two middle schools, and both a comprehensive and continuation high school. The school district is excited to be moving forward several key bond projects, including improvements to classrooms, greater technology, and pool and athletic fields. The first year of her tenure, new board members and staff met to update the district mission, vision and core beliefs. This work, once through the final vetting and after final board approval, will serve as the North Star for decisions in the district regarding student success. District work will begin to focus on using data to problem-solve together, having the best instruction in every classroom and strengthening the system to meet every student where they are.
Previously, Ms. Shiels served a statewide organization as the Director of Education for the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE), where she worked closely with districts. As a Sonoma County resident, she traveled the state to support and champion districts seeking to improve outcomes for those historically underserved. Post-fire, it was clear it was time to reinvest personal effort and attention to the local community she values so much. She feels privileged to be able to serve students and families of the Valley.
She has over 20 years of public education experience at the administrative and classroom level. She also had the opportunity to serve as the Superintendent of Santa Rosa City School (SRCS) District for four years. Her proudest career highlights include empowering district culture shift to restorative justice for the entire school community and intentionally creating inclusive community and organizational cultures.
As a Santa Rosa resident for nearly a decade, she has been a strong supporter and partner of a community working together. She believes that public-private partnerships across the county to ensure community health, economic vitality, and educational attainment at all organizational levels. She is a proud member of the Valley community and looks forward to working together on behalf of each and every student. The future of the Valley is in SVUSD classrooms right now.
Gerald Solomon, Secretary
Prior to this position, Gerald served as President & CEO of Public Health Foundation Enterprises (PHFE) for seven (7) years
where he transformed the organization from an LA-centric provider of funding and services into national prominence.
Gerald offers a diverse executive leadership background, having served as President and CEO of several highly successful and nationally recognized nonprofit as well as for-profit organizations, including a distinguished 18 year career as a civil trial attorney and Judge Pro Tem.
Ken Maxey, Board Member
Paul Granillo, Board Member
He restructured the organization with a vision for bettering the quality of life and business climate of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Paul currently serves as Past-Chair of Mobility 21, a coalition that pursues regional solutions to transportation challenges. He also serves as Past-Chair of the California Stewardship Network; and is a sitting member of the Regional Economic Alliance Leaders of California.
Additionally, Paul serves on the Southern California Association of Governments Global Land Use and Economics Committee and sits on the Board of Directors for The Community Foundation serving Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and Cal State San Bernardino’s Foundation Board. He also serves as Past-Chair of the California Economic Summit and a Board Member of Californians Dedicated to Education. Paul currently serves as Board Member of the Campaign for College Opportunity and a Member of KVCR Educational Foundation.
Paul received his Bachelors of Arts from California State University San Bernardino, his Master of Divinity from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo and holds a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. Paul is married to Dr. Christina Granillo, Ph.D.; they are the proud parents of Monica Marie.
Terri Gomez, Board Member
Terri Gomez, Ph.D., serves as the Associate Provost for Student Success, Equity& Innovation at Cal Poly Pomona. A member of the President’s Cabinet and the campus’ chief student success officer, Dr. Gomez oversees the university’s efforts on the California State University Graduation Initiative 2025 which aims to increase graduation rates for freshman and transfer students, and eliminate all equity gaps. Gomez is a student-centered, innovative, data-informed strategist with a deep understanding of both the opportunities and challenges that are emerging in this rapidly changing education landscape. She understands the many factors that impact student success, graduation, retention, and equity, particularly for first-generation and under-served students.
In her 20+ year careers in the California State University system, Gomez has held several positions prior to her current role, including professor and chair of Ethnic and Women’s Studies, founding director for the PolyTransfer Program, Associate Dean of the College of Education and Integrative Studies, Associate Vice President and now an Associate Provost. The Associate Provost is responsible for oversight of academic affairs partnerships and programs that promote student learning and advance student success, personal growth, and lifelong learning. Dr. Gomez provides strategic leadership for multiple units in academic affairs focused on meeting the academic and support needs of the university’s diverse student body, including: Academic Advising, the Bronco Advising Center, Undeclared Advising, Honors College, the Center for Community Engagement, the Innovation Lab, the Office of Undergraduate Research, the Learning Resource Center, First Year Experience and the Common Read, PolyTransfer, the 4-/2-Year Pledge Programs, and new initiatives around academic preparation and Early Start. Additionally, Dr. Gomez serves as Principal Investigator for a Department of Education, Title V Hispanic Serving Institution grant — Project CAMINOS (Cultivating Access and Mentoring through Institutional Networks and Opportunities for Success). The grant focuses on developing a pipeline for Latinx and other underserved students in the local area high school and community colleges into Cal Poly Pomona, and provides academic support services to students needing additional support, particularly in math. Dr. Gomez earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in Political Science at UCLA.
Erika Jones, Board Member
Erika Jones has taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 2005. Though she mostly has taught kindergarten, she has experience teaching K-5. She holds a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from California State University, Northridge and she is currently serving as a member of the California Teachers Association Board of Directors. She has held multiple leadership positions in United Teachers Los Angeles as well. Erika is a passionate professional development trainer and educational justice activist. Prior to entering teaching, she worked in marketing and the music industry.
Education is the most powerful weapon which can be used to change the world.
MEET OUR STAFF
Ed Honowitz, CEO
Ed joined CDE Foundation in October 2016. Honowitz comes to the Foundation with a background in education policy. Ed served as education policy adviser for State Senator Carol Liu, who chaired the California Senate Education Committee. Ed’s work in the California State 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 legislative and conference committees.
Ed has presented at the California and National School Boards Association annual conferences and at the California League of Cities annual conference as well as the California Teachers Association Summer Institute and the Assoc. of California School Administrators Leadership Summit and Superintendent’s Symposium on topics ranging from community engagement, labor-management partnerships, community school collaboration and arts education. Ed is currently a board member of CREATE CA 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!
As a collaborative leader, he’s helped strengthen and expand the Labor Management Initiative across the state. [email protected]
Gustavo Morales, LMI Associate Director
Gustavo joined the CDE Foundation in September 2019. Prior to working at CDEF, Gustavo supported the development of community schools in Los Angeles. Gustavo brings 13 years of experience working with youth development, family engagement, community organizing, and public policy. He is a member of the national Community Schools Leadership Network and is a distinguished fellow with Skilling America.
My favorite teacher was my political science teacher in college Dr. Bergstrom, who challenged me to learn differently. He encouraged me to think through solutions myself and determine my own steps. My superpower is vacation planning. I am always the first to volunteer in planning new trips. On the weekends you can find me trying a slice of cake (or two) at a bakery in Los Angeles.
Jacquelyn Ollison, The Lab Co-Director
I am a committed educator who loves everything about the profession. My experience includes teaching in the PreK-College system and serving as a school site, school district, and state-level administrator. My expertise includes pedagogy, education equity, research, school climate, teacher burnout, secondary trauma,
racial trauma, and compassion fatigue. As well as developing, implementing, and executing innovative visions, designing, and providing professional development for staff, project design and management, event coordination, community engagement, data analysis, and research, program evaluation, and organizational learning and development. I enjoy collaborating with different stakeholders, including students, parents, educators, education advocates, and community-based organizations and workgroups to execute equity-focused goals. My colleagues would describe me as a passionate, caring, highly skilled, courageous, and bold advocate, especially when serving the best interests of students. I am also a committed wife, stepmother, and dog lover. Pronouns: she/her/hers
Who was your favorite teacher, and why? My favorite teacher is my 12 th grade English Teacher, Laura Watson. Ms. Watson was kind, caring, smart, and she made learning come alive. Her classroom was a haven for me, especially at lunchtime. After I became a teacher, I had the pleasure of working with her as a colleague at a middle school and then again at the California Department of Education where we continued our tradition of having lunch together at least once a week until she retired. Ms. Watson’s teaching style greatly influenced my own teaching style. She showed me that teachers are human and that positive teacher-student relationships, both socially and emotionally, are essential for student success. I am forever grateful to Ms. Watson’s friendship and influence on me personally and professionally.
What’s my superpower? My superpower is my unwavering faith in knowing that all is well, in good times and in bad. My faith compels me to work to make sure that all students (cradle to career) have the best education possible.
Favorite quote? “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jeanna Perry, Co-Director
Jeanna Perry, Lab Co-Director. Ms. Perry worked for Fresno Unified School District for over 15 years as an elementary and secondary teacher, Instructional Coach, a Teacher on Special Assignment, Coordinator for the Fresno Teacher Residency Program, and a Manager II in Teacher Development. Jeanna managed the Fresno Teacher Residency Program, general Student Teacher Programs, Induction Coaches, and university partnerships. She facilitated ongoing collaboration with Fresno State University, Fresno Pacific University, Cal State Teach, and National University. She has presented nationally on the Fresno Teacher Residency Program and pipeline programs supported in Teacher Development.
Who was your favorite teacher, and why? Ms. Frazier was my fourth-grade teacher who showed she cared for her students daily. She would take the time to learn student strengths and leverage those assets during and outside of class. She also had high expectations for all her students regardless of background.
What’s my superpower? I am a learner and enjoy systems thinking because it allows me to take in multiple pieces of information to create coherence and alignment. The process of putting the puzzle pieces together to make a beautiful picture motivates me.
Favorite quote? “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Glennon Stratton, STEAM Program Director
Prior to joining CDEF, Glennon led strategic initiatives at Portland Public Schools that included launching 6 new MakerSpaces, engaging 7th-grade students with Career and Technical Education experiences, and creating a trauma-informed continuum of care to support students facing substance use and mental health challenges. At the Colorado Charter School Institute, he led programming for students experiencing homelessness, at-promise youth, and emergent bilingual students. During his Education Pioneers Fellowship at the Los Angeles Unified School District, he supported the implementation of the district’s new professional development and evaluation system. Before working for K-12 agencies, Glennon led dynamic programming for at-promise youth and people with disabilities at the nonprofit U.S. Sailing Center.
Based in Long Beach, Glennon actively volunteers at local nonprofits in the region. He also enjoys sailing, snowboarding, surfing, cycling, photography, and movies. He earned his M.B.A. and B.A. in Communication from the University of Southern California.
My favorite teacher was my photo-journalism professor, Mr. Rick Meyer. I greatly enjoyed his courses because he provided us with practical industry experience and always gave detailed feedback to help students improve their craft. My super power is making fresh popcorn, and on the weekends you can find me outdoors. I enjoy spending time sailing and surfing on the ocean and snowboarding in the mountains.
Karyn Warner, STEAM Program Manager
Prior to working at CDEF, Karyn worked in the Redwood City School District and is co-founder of the Bright Futures: Equitable Access to Learning in the Digital Age Conference which brings together Bay Area educators, researchers and ed tech developers to share best practices. Karyn brings her combined experiences as a former elementary classroom teacher and staff development coach to the STEAM Program Manager position. She co-taught the first coding club in her former district and recently presented Breathing Through Frustration: Teaching Coding to Kids. As a guest presenter at the TELOS at Stanford Equity in Education Conference, Karyn shared her experiences amplifying student voice in the K-8 classroom. She is passionate about supporting student centered learning opportunities for ALL students with a specific focus on making their learning visible and relevant to their daily lives. As the STEAM Program Manager, she supports our ongoing STEAM initiatives as well as the annual STEAM Symposium and CA4NGSS coalition activities.
Karyn has a background in Journalism and for many years worked in the technology industry as a technical writer and trainer. She especially enjoys digital storytelling to communicate big ideas in an engaging, personal way. Volunteering in community programs like City Trees and the Redwood City Parks and Rec Department is both a joy and a way for her to connect more closely with her neighbors. Karyn is based in Redwood City and enjoys sharing time with her family and friends at the beach kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving and exploring new places while riding on her orange eBike nicknamed Poppy. Although Karyn has three sons, she counts her Maine Coon cat, Waldo, as her child as well.
My favorite teacher was my high school ELA teacher, Mrs. Sharples, who taught me to take action whenever I saw injustice. Don’t wait for somebody else to do what must be done. YOU can do it! My super power is never postponing joy! On the weekend you can usually find me riding my eBike on coastal trails hoping to get lost enough that I find new places to explore.
Karina Gigliotti, Director of Grants & Operations
Karina joined the CDE Foundation in November 2021. Prior to working at CDEF, Karina supported federal, state, and private foundation funding in higher education. Karina brings 15 years of experience working with an array of funders across the various California counties. She holds a Doctorate in Education Leadership, and her research of focus has been first-generation Latinas.
My favorite teacher was my sociology teacher in my community college, Dr. Medina, who challenged many of our society’s norms and challenged me to question why things are done a certain way. My superpower is always to make a conscious decision to do an act of kindness for someone. On the weekends, you can usually find me hiking, drinking coffee at a nearby coffee shop, or spending time with those around me.
Yadira Guerrero, Program Manager, STEAM Initiatives
Yadira joined the CDE Foundation in May 2022. For over 10 years, Yadira has supported the implementation of PreK-12 STEM programs throughout California as well as the growth and articulation of STEM programs at Bakersfield College and California State University Bakersfield. Yadira brings years of experience in working with school districts, higher education institutions, industry partners, and community members to deliver equitable STEM/STEAM educational opportunities to students of all ages and backgrounds.
My favorite teachers were Annis Cassells and Whitney Weddell at Washington Jr. High in Bakersfield, California. As a child, I thought they simply changed my life. As an adult, I now understand that they helped me develop the skills that I had, and that I needed, to change my own life. They led with their hearts, showed up every day as their genuine selves, and are still two of the most brilliant women I have had the pleasure of knowing. In my free time, you can find me at the dog park with my chocolate labs or riding my 1974 Vespa around the streets of Bakersfield.
MEET OUR FUNDING PARTNERS
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
Association of California School Administrators
Blue Shield of California
California Association of School Business Officials
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
The California Endowment
Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club
California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls
First 5 California
California Film Commission
California School Employees Association
California Teachers Association
Collaborative for Academic, Social & Emotional Learning
Council of Chief State School Officers
Council of Chief State School Officers
Seek Common Ground
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Silver Giving Foundation
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