Dr. Corinne Martinez, Co-Director
Dr. Corinne Martinez (Co-Director) is Chair of the Liberal Studies Department and Associate Professor in Teacher Education at CSULB. Dr. Martinez serves as Co-Director for the Center and oversees all aspects of the Center’s activities and planning key aspects of the project. Her research and publications focus on secondary school reform designed to promote college and career readiness within predominantly Latinx communities. For the past several years, Dr. Martinez has collaborated in the development and implementation of activities associated with CSULB’s Linked Learning initiatives. In 2016, Dr. Martinez was appointed Director for the CSU Collaborative for the Advancement of Linked Learning (CSU CALL). As Director for the CSU CALL, Dr. Martinez led the CSU Long Beach team and coordinated with seven other CSU campuses to further develop, scale up, and institutionalize CSU strategies for educator preparation and professional development for Linked Learning.
Dr. Catherine (Cara) Richards-Tutor, Co-Director
Dr. Catherine (Cara) Richards-Tutor (Co-Director) is a Professor in the special education program at California State University, Long Beach and Co-Director of the Center to Close the Opportunity Gap. She began her career teaching in both general and special education and working with families as a behavior specialist. Her research and publications mainly focus on interventions for students at-risk for learning disabilities and English Learners as well as Multi-tiered Systems of Support. Currently, Dr. Richards-Tutor serves as PI or Co-PI on four federally funded grants. Two grants focus on professional preparation of dually licensed teachers and school psychologists to implement culturally responsive academic and behavior interventions, and two grants focus on intervention and assessments for English learners. Her research is published in several prominent special education journals, including Exceptional Children, Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, and Assessment for Effective Intervention.
Dr. Caroline Lopez-Perry
Dr. Caroline Lopez-Perry is an Assistant Professor in the school counseling program at California State University, Long Beach. She teachers graduate students in the masters’ counseling program with a focus on school counseling. She presents at state, regional and national conferences in the fields of counseling and education along with publishing articles in scholarly journals. Dr. Lopez-Perry is committed to helping the school counseling profession develop the knowledge and skills to improve school counselor service delivery and K-12 educational outcomes and enjoys leading in-services and developing partnerships with school districts. Her scholarly interests include college and career readiness, group counseling, school counselor curriculum, and school counselor leadership and training.
Dr. Heather Macias
Dr. Heather Macias is an Assistant Professor in the Teacher Education Department at California State University, Long Beach. She started her career as an English teacher in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. While teaching, she developed teaching practices to integrate and explore different literacies in interdisciplinary contexts, while also drawing from Critical Pedagogy and culturally responsive teaching strategies. The connections she made with students helped Dr. Macias to better understand how literacy across content areas can help culturally and linguistically diverse students feel validated, engaged, and represented in the curriculum. Her past research has examined the role of professional development in helping teachers better serve multilingual students; the language ideologies of bilingual Latina mothers; and conducting research into STEM literacy practices. Dr. Macias' current research continues to explore how teachers draw upon different forms of professional development to support the literacy development of culturally and linguistically diverse students, as well as exploring the role of professional development for PK-12 Ethnic Studies teachers and programs.
Dr. Nat Hansuvadha
Dr. Nat Hansuvadha is a professor and program coordinator for the Master of Science program in Special Education at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). As a former paraeducator and teacher of students with mild to moderate disabilities, an Asian-American woman, and a mother of biracial children, Dr. Hansuvadha is committed to social justice issues in her teaching, research, and community engagement and leadership. Her current teaching and research focus on examining, deconstructing, and redesigning pedagogy and curricula towards more inclusive, culturally responsive, and anti-racist pedagogy for general and special education teachers. Dr. Hansuvadha spearheaded the Better Together statewide conference at CSULB for four years and currently serves on the California CEEDAR task force and California Professors of Special Education (CAPSE) board.
Dr. Diana Porras
Dr. Diana Porras is a Lecturer in the Liberal Studies and Linguistics Departments at CSULB. With over 10 years of experience working on issues of education equity, access, and social justice, Diana’s specific interests are in culturally responsive partnerships and participatory policymaking. These areas were at the center of her dissertation, a multi-year partnership with Latinx immigrant mothers involved in school-level and districtwide committees. She has also been involved in studies examining student engagement, advantages of bilingual abilities, and teacher training. Her formal experiences include working for UCLA Center X, the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access, and the Civil Rights Project as well as for members of Congress and other elected officials. Diana draws on her training and eclectic experiences to inform and shape the contributions she makes as a member of the CCOG team. Diana received a PhD from UCLA and an MPA from CSULB.
Willa Rose Fynn, EdD Fellow
Willa Rose Fynn is a 3rd-year doctoral student in the Educational Leadership department at CSULB. She began her career teaching students with Autism in grades K-2 for six years in NYC Title I public schools and has been a preschool special education teacher for the last six years. Her dissertation is on the interface of play and learning in urban early childhood education which examines how often learning is characteristic of play and how likely teachers utilize play versus traditional, didactic approach to teaching. Over the years, her students have taught her that learning is innate, a universal language in childhood, and a buffer for stress. Diminished opportunities for play in early childhood education presents an opportunity gap, and she is excited to support the initiatives of the CCOG. Her project for the CCOG includes a teacher reflection/ evaluation tool to promote play in the classroom, a webinar on how children and teachers learn through play, and resources for preservice early childhood educators.
Elizabeth Casillas, EdD Fellow
Elizabeth Casillas earned her B.A in Sociology and M.A in Special Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently in her 7th year as a Special Education Teacher for Bellflower Unified School District as well as a 1st year doctoral student in CSULB’s Educational Leadership Doctorate Program. Her goal for her work with CCOG is to create a practice guide and webinar that will include Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and its effect on students with disabilities and their literacy development, the need for Culturally Relevant Curriculum and Teacher Training, as well as the need for Professional Learning Communities/ Network Improvement Communities within Special Education to help support the use of Culturally Relevant Teaching practices within schools.
Analia Cabral, Graduate Research Assistant
Analia Cabral a first-generation college student that will receive her master’s degree in School Counseling from CSULB in May 2021. She was born and raised in Jerez, Zac Mexico and Pomona, CA and is passionate about social justice and activism in education. She received a BFA in Art Photography and a BA in History at California State University, Fullerton. She worked on the Women in Politics and Activism Project for The Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History as an undergraduate. Currently she is a part of the CREST Grant and is partnering with a special education teacher to create accessibility and equitable practices with students with disabilities and the Linked Learning Program in the Long Beach District.
Brenda Avalos, Website & Social Media Graduate Assistant
Brenda Avalos is a graduate student at California State University, Long Beach in the school psychology program. She holds a graduate degree in education with an emphasis in dual language development. Her scholarly interests are educational accessibility for culturally and linguistically diverse students, bilingual development, cultural responsiveness in academic and behavior practices, and mental health integration in K-12 settings. She is the CCOG’s Website and Social Media Graduate Assistant, an Academic Coach at CSULB’s Learning Center, and an Elementary Student Support Specialist for Norwalk- La Mirada Unified School District.
Dr. Douglas Fisher
Dr. Douglas Fisher is Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College having been an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit, an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE, as well as a Christa McAuliffe award for excellence in teacher education. He has published numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design as well as books, such as PLC+: Better Decisions and Greater Impact by Design, Building Equity, and Assessment-capable Learners.
Dr. Brent Duckor
Dr. Brent Duckor is a Professor at the Lurie College of Education at San José State University, where he teaches in the Department of Teacher Education and serves as core faculty in the Ed.D. Leadership Program. A leading scholar in the field of K-12 assessment who conducts research in applied psychometrics, Dr. Duckor received his Ph.D. in Quantitative Methods and Evaluation at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a Masters of International Affairs with a Business concentration from Columbia University and a B.A. degree in Politics with Honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His scholarship has appeared in Teachers College Record, Phi Delta Kappan, Journal of Teacher Education, Journal of Educational Measurement, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, and Educational Leadership. A former high school teacher at Central Park East Secondary School in New York City, Brent taught History, Economics, and Civics/Government in the Senior Institute. For over 30 years, he has blended his passion for linking policy with practice and works to inspire new teachers and educational leaders to work closely together on behalf of traditionally underserved students.
Dr. Lorri M. Capizzi
Dr. Lorri M. Capizzi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counselor Education at the Lurie College of Education at San José State University. She has over 15 years of federal grant administration experience with Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) working with schools, districts, and counties serving students in foster care and students experiencing homelessness. Dr. Capizzi’s expertise with youth at-risk spans K-12 to higher education emphasizing practice-based training and applied research. She is a specialist in the area of foster youth and has been a consultant to County Offices of Education where she has advised districts on developing Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAPs). She serves as the faculty advisor for the CSU Guardian Scholars Program for emancipated foster youth in higher education at San Jose State and advises SJSU administration on program design and curriculum development for this program. Her research partnerships/projects have served the California Department of Education, County Offices of Education - Foster and Homeless divisions, California Department of Child and Family Services and The Superior Courts of Santa Clara County.
Dr. Antoinette Linton
Dr. Antoinette Linton is an Associate Professor of Secondary Science Education in the Department of Secondary Education at CSU Fullerton. She is currently the lead faculty for the department’s anti-racism webinar series. Her area of expertise includes science education, teacher education, and epistemic practices that operationalize the NGSS for students. She is the Subject Area Coordinator of Science, and her most recent publications include, A Clinical Classroom Process, a chapter in Rethinking Field Experiences in Preservice Teacher Preparation; Teaching Biology In the Age of the Next Generation Science Standards, a chapter in Multicultural Curriculum Transformation in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics, and her current work, Developing a Mentorship Practice Through Self-Study in the Journal of School Leadership.
Dr. Fernando Rodríguez-Valls
Dr. Fernando Rodríguez-Valls is Professor at California State University, Fullerton. Dr. Rodríguez-Valls has created partnerships with school districts and local educational agencies to develop and implement community-based [bi/multi] literacy programs. At CSUF, Fernando coordinates the Bilingual Authorization Program and the World Languages Program. In this capacity, he recruits and prepares future educators to design, implement, and evaluate asset-based and heteroglossic practices. As a scholar, Dr. Rodríguez-Valls’ publications focus on equitable and linguistically inclusive methodologies for emergent bilingual, newcomer, and [im]migrant students as well as on the socio-cultural factors affecting their academic achievement, educational continuity and school engagement. Fernando has directed and co-directs grant projects in which teacher candidates have the opportunity to create brave learning spaces where teaching overpowers instruction, where learning surpasses drilling, where languages conquer monolingualism, where critical thinking eradicates fanaticism and a fake sense of monoglossic and univocal identity.
Dr. Dawn Person
Dr. Dawn Person is Professor of Educational Leadership at California State University, Fullerton. She serves as the Director of the Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership (C-REAL), where she oversees evaluation projects and grants identifying best practices for eliminating educational opportunity gaps with the support and diligent work of student researchers. Dawn was part of a team of authors who wrote about the undergraduate experience of students of color attending predominantly white colleges, and she is co-editor of a book on the first-year experience and students of color. She has written numerous articles and book chapters on student success and factors influencing Black and Latinx students, and women and student athletes of color. She has also written about student resilience and student cultures in higher education.
Dr. Sung Hee Lee
Dr. Sung Hee Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education at California State University, Fullerton, California, USA. She received her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of Washington. Dr. Lee’s areas of research interest are learning disabilities and literacy education. Particularly, she has focused on investigating the integration of technology into literacy education of students with and without learning difficulties. Dr. Lee has also received several internal and external grants. All her funded projects focus on investigating the technology integration into literacy education of students with and without learning difficulties.
Dr. Alison G. Dover
Dr. Alison G. Dover is an Associate Professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University, Fullerton. She holds a doctorate in Social Justice Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A former high school English Language Arts teacher, Dover works collaboratively with local and national school communities to advance equity, multicultural education, and culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogy. In addition to Preparing to Teach Social Studies for Social Justice: Becoming a Renegade (2016, Teachers College Press), Dover has written more than 25 articles related to equity-oriented K-12 and teacher education. Dover’s current research focuses on in- and out-of-school learning among newcomer and emergent bilingual students in Southern California.
Dr. Natalie Tran
Dr. Natalie Tran is currently the Director of the National Resource Center for Asian Languages (NRCAL), Chair of the Department of Secondary Education, and Director of the Ed.D. program at CSUF. She is founder of the Vietnamese American Education Advisory Council, which was created to seek input from the community to develop the Vietnamese Bachelor’s degree, credential pathway, and bilingual authorization at CSUF. Dr. Tran has experience serving as Co-Principal Investigator for an NSF-funded project to develop Spanish-English dual language immersion curriculum and provide teacher training to improve math and science achievement among middle school, low income Latino students. Working at the intersection of research, area studies, the preservation and devotion to diversity, and public dissemination of knowledge, she understands the multiple roles necessary to be successful as the director of NRCAL, and has led the center to marked success as an invaluable nationally-reaching resource for educators.
Dr. Nick Henning
Dr. Nick Henning, Professor of Secondary Education at CSUF, has been a teacher educator for nearly two decades within three different teacher education programs (UCLA, Claremont Graduate University, and CSUF). He is an expert in the fields of social justice teacher education, urban schooling, collaborative teacher supports, social studies education and curriculum, justice-oriented teaching, and K-12 Ethnic Studies. He has presented at multiple international, national, and statewide conferences, has work published in numerous journals, including Teaching and Teacher Education, Urban Education, The Urban Review, and has co-authored a book, Preparing to Teach Social Studies for Social Justice: Becoming a Renegade.
Dr. Julián Jefferies
Dr. Julián Jefferies teaches critical approaches to education and creates study opportunities for first-generation Latino/a students in Mexico and Puerto Rico, where he encourages students to apply course concepts in an experiential manner, strengthen their Spanish and reunite with their Latin American roots. He researches the lived experience of undocumented youth, recently focusing on return migrants in Mexico, for which he received a Fulbright-García Robles Scholarship. In 2018, he was recognized by the CSU for Faculty Innovation and Leadership for his study abroad programs.
Dr. Pablo Jasis
Dr. Pablo Jasis is a former teacher, community advocate and university scholar with over thirty-five years as an educator. His research and educational practice focuses on the relationship between schools and historically underserved communities, migrant and multicultural education, as well as the means of enhancing pedagogical practices with emerging bilingual students. He is the Principal Investigator of HEP (High School Education Program), which has provided educational opportunities to hundreds of migrant farmworker adults and families for over 20 years. Dr. Jasis regularly advises school districts on critical educational issues, his articles and book chapters are widely read and cited.
Dr. Eugene Fujimoto
Dr. Eugene Fujimoto served for over 20 years as a practitioner on equity and diversity issues in higher education. Publications include works in the Journal of Ethical Educational Leadership; Community College Review; and Urban Review. Recent scholarship includes presentations at the Critical Questions in Education Conference; the American Educational Research Association; and NASPA Leadership Institute. Research interests include leadership in equity and diversity as well as access issues pertaining to community-based influences in transforming the culture of colleges and universities.
Dr. Joyce Gomez-Najarro
Dr. Joyce Gomez-Najarro is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Literacy and Reading Education at California State University, Fullerton. Her research interests include social justice in teacher education; teachers’ understandings and approaches to assessment; preparing teachers to engage in effective literacy instruction when serving culturally and linguistically diverse student populations; and teachers’ treatment of student identity within educational policies and teaching practice.
Dr. Nancy Watkins
Dr. Nancy Watkins was a K-12 educator for over 30 years working and teaching in public schools in California. Dr. Watkins serves as an assistant professor at Cal State Fullerton teaching educational leadership in the College of Education as well as pedagogy and leadership courses at several local colleges. With a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Claremont Graduate University and an Educational Leadership Doctorate from UCI/CSU, Dr. Watkins specializes in equity-driven leadership, educational policy, and teaching strategies. Her research interests continue to focus on the role of teachers in the policymaking process, administrative leadership, and the establishment of just, equitable, and inclusive opportunities for all students.
Dr. Maritza Lozano
Maritza Lozano is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Leadership Department at California State University, Fullerton. Lozano’s research on the design of equitable learning environments examines the micro and macro-level processes that support learning for culturally and linguistically diverse youth. Informed by her 20+ years of experience working with schools across the United States, Lozano is committed to working in partnership with P-12 communities. Lozano holds a B.A. in Spanish Literary Studies from Occidental College, an M.A. in Education from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Professor, Co-Director-CSU Center to Close the Opportunity Gap
Department of Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling
College of Education
California State University, Long Beach
Chair, Department of Liberal Studies
Co-Director-CSU Center to Close the Opportunity Gap
College of Education
California State University, Long Beach
Department of Teacher Education and Ed.D. Leadership Program
Lurie College of Education
San Jose State University
Lorri M. Capizzi
Department of Counselor Education
Lurie College of Education
San Jose State University
COE Bilingual Authorization Program Coordinator
World Languages Program Coordinator
California State University, Fullerton
Professor and Dept. Chair
Educational Leadership, College of Education
San Diego State University
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Educator Preparation and Public School Programs
California State University, Office of the Chancellor
Dean, College of Education
California State University, Long Beach
Carlston Family Foundation
Director Educator Excellence and Equity Division, CDE
California Department of Education
Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE)
Center X, UCLA
CA State Board of Education