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Who We Are

  • Dr. Catherine (Cara) Richards-Tutor, Co-Director

    Dr. Catherine (Cara) Richards-Tutor, Co-Director

    Dr. Catherine (Cara) Richards-Tutor 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, Co-Director

    Dr. Caroline Lopez-Perry is an Associate Professor in the school counseling program at California State University, Long Beach and the coordinator for school counseling fieldwork experiences. Prior to her work in counselor education she was a school counselor in the elementary and middle school setting. Her research and publications focus on school counselor leadership, specifically the school counselors’ role in promoting equity in education through program design, service delivery, advocacy, and educational reform. Other areas of focus include group counseling, school counseling classroom instruction, career and college readiness, and the recruitment and retention of school counselors of color. She was a key contributor to the development of the recently updated CCTC Pupil Personnel Services School Counselor Program Standards and Performance Expectations and co-authored the Best Practice Guidelines for California School Counselors.

  • Dr. Diana Porras

    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.

  • Dr. Nat Hansuvadha

    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. Hiromi Masunaga

    Dr. Hiromi Masunaga

    Dr. Hiromi Masunaga is a professor of Educational Psychology who has studied life-span cognitive development and mechanisms that cultivate advanced expertise. To exemplify her line of research, she won the 2013 100Kin10 National Research Design Competition with a project involving Lesson Study teacher professional development in mathematics. Lately she served as the chair of the Department of Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling (ASEC) within the CSULB College of Education for six years. Being the college’s largest department, ASEC involves faculty members from diverse disciplines including school counseling, counseling psychology, school psychology, special education, educational psychology, educational technology, and social and cultural analysis of education. After ardently working with department faculty and their students who have embodied different lenses to approach education during those six years, her perspective on education was deepened, widened, diversified, and then merged into a larger unity again. Her goal is to help build education where all students are empowered, enlightened, engaged, and are thriving to reach their fullest potential.

  • Dr. Oscar Navarro

    Dr. Oscar Navarro

    Dr. Oscar Navarro is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education and Liberal Studies at California State University, Long Beach. His experience as a high school teacher and teacher activist in Los Angeles informs his scholarship examining the pedagogy, practice, and process of educators of Color committed to racial and social justice. Dr. Navarro investigates High School-Undergraduate-Teacher Education-Pathways for future educators of Color in his role with the Center to Close the Opportunity Gap. Before joining CSULB, he was an Assistant Professor at California Polytechnic State University. Recent research has been published in Teachers College RecordCurriculum Inquiry, and Urban Education. Dr. Navarro received the Transformative Teacher-Educator Fellowship, the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Faculty Fellowship, and the President’s Faculty Diversity Award at Cal Poly. He has held leadership roles in AERA’s Critical Educators for Social Justice, the Central Coast Coalition for Undocumented Student Success, the People’s Education Movement, and CSULB’s Black Lives Matter at School. 

  • Dr. Jolan Smith

    Dr. Jolan Smith

    Jolan M. Smith, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the department of Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling at California State University, Long Beach. In the College of Education, Dr. Smith teaches courses in research in special education, and assessment and evaluation of students with disabilities within the special education master’s and credential programs. She also serves as the faculty mentor to elementary, secondary, and special education credential students in the Mary Jane Patterson Teachers for Urban Schools Scholarship Initiative in the College of Education. This initiative aims to support a pipeline of culturally responsive teachers to serve communities and students who have historically been marginalized. A former special education teacher in Title I schools and alternative settings, Dr. Smith's research focuses on community-partnered participatory research in disability, and Black family/caregiver engagement in special education. 

  • Alexis Contreras headshot

    Alexis Contreras, EdD Fellow

    Alexis Julianna Contreras is a first-generation Latina/Chicana doctoral student at California State University Long Beach. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychology, minor in Theater – and once again in 2018 with a Master of Education (specialization in STEM). Alexis is currently an Ethnic Studies high school teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District. Next academic year, she will serve as a Secondary Instructional Coach for her school site. She has been teaching for the last 6 years and has experience in both elementary and secondary classrooms. She is a current student in CSULB's Educational Leadership Doctorate Program (specialization in PK-12 education). She has a passion for transformational coaching, ethnic studies, and social justice education. She is thrilled to join CCOG as one of their fellows. Her research focuses on the lack of Latina high school social science teachers in Southern California. Alexis hopes to help diversify the teacher workforce and help integrate ethnic studies curriculum across content areas.

  • G. Arias headshot

    Guadalupe Arias, EdD Fellow

    Guadalupe Arias is a first year EdD candidate in the Educational Leadership program at California State University, Long Beach.  She began her career teaching English as a Second Language to middle school students in Japan. Upon returning to the United States, she has worked as an educational practitioner in elementary schools as teacher, Title I and EL Coordinator, instructional support personnel, and administrator in South and East Los Angeles. She currently leads at an elementary school in East Los Angeles while seeking a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, focusing on social justice and equity. Her current research interests focus on school leadership traits and instructional practices impacting student achievement gaps in historically minoritized school communities in urban areas. Guadalupe received a BA in Sociology & Public Policy from Pomona College, MA in Sociology from Colorado State University at Fort Collins, and MA in Educational Administration from CSU Northridge. 

  • Kealia Hudson headshot

    Kealia Hudson, Graduate Research Assistant

    Kealia (Kea) Hudson graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California in 2018 with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Spanish. As an undergraduate, she served as a research assistant at the USC Child Interviewing Lab, contributing to studies on forensic interviewing and child witness testimony. Following her graduation, she was awarded a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education that enabled her to teach in public elementary schools in Spain for two years. After returning to California, she pursued an opportunity to work as a special education teaching assistant at a non-public school during the 2021-22 academic year. Currently, Kea is a master's candidate in the CSULB School Psychology program. She also holds a role as a scholar on the Culturally Responsive Instruction and Intervention in Self-Determination Programs (CRISP) training grant. Kea has served as a graduate assistant at CCOG since 2022, collaborating closely with faculty on the LAUSD Case Study Research Project.

  • C. McCoy headshot

    Cassidy McCoy, Graduate Research Assistant

    Cassidy McCoy is a master's candidate in the CSULB School Psychology program and recently joined the CCOG team in May 2023. She graduated summa cum laude with her B.A. in Psychology and minor in Comparative World Literature in December 2021. As an undergraduate Cassidy was an active member of the CSULB Honors program and was the President of the Psychology Student Association. Currently, Cassidy is part of the Behavior Assessment and Supports in Schools (BASIS) interdisciplinary training project and is the Secretary for the School Psychology Student Association.

  • Dr. Douglas Fisher

    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.

  • Ojeda headshot

    Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda

    Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University, where he is also the program manager of the preliminary administrative services credential program. He has contributed to and led curriculum and course experience redesign efforts through Wallace Foundation funded initiatives. Significant outcomes from redesign efforts have resulted in sustaining district partnerships, expansion of the principal preparation program regionally and state-wide in California through the development of a fully online program. His scholarly and practitioner work has focused on evidence-based practices that prioritize collaborative leadership and clear instructional purpose. Alejandro’s work has been published in diverse outlets such as practitioner literature, and in peer reviewed articles and chapters. He has led professional learning both nationally and internationally on school leadership, literacy instruction, and educational technology. Alejandro’s work in the field of literacy spans policy and practice analysis. His most recent contributions to the field have emphasized effective practices in resource adoption, and comprehensive intervention practices. A passionate advocate for use of technology for purpose, his work also features ways in which educators can harness technology purposefully rather than at surface level. Throughout his career he has led the design and implementation of blended and fully online learning programs at the K12 and graduate level, including developing capacity among staff. 

  • Dr. Brent Duckor

    Dr. Brent Duckor

    Dr. Brent Duckor is Professor at the Lurie College of Education at San José State University. He serves as core faculty and doctoral advisor in the Ed.D. Leadership Program at SJSU and is affiliated with the Department of Teacher Education. A leading scholar in the field of K-12 assessment who also conducts research using applied psychometric techniques, 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. His books on Mastering Formative Assessment Moves (ASCD, 2017) and Feedback for Learning (Corwin, in press) with Dr. Carrie Holmberg demonstrate an unwavering commitment to equity and the pursuit of excellence for traditionally marginalized students. 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

    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

    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

    Dr. Fernando Rodríguez-Valls is a 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

    Dr. Dawn Person is a 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

Cara Richards-Tutor

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

Caroline Lopez-Perry

Associate Professor, Co-Director-CSU Center to Close the Opportunity Gap
School Counseling Program
College of Education
California State University, Long Beach

Brent Duckor

Associate Professor
Department of Teacher Education and Ed.D. Leadership Program
Lurie College of Education 
San Jose State University

Lorri M. Capizzi

Assistant Professor
Department of Counselor Education
Lurie College of Education 
San Jose State University

Fernando Rodríguez-Valls

COE Bilingual Authorization Program Coordinator
World Languages Program Coordinator
California State University, Fullerton

Doug Fisher

Professor and Dept. Chair
Educational Leadership, College of Education
San Diego State University

Alejandro Gonzalez Ojeda

Assistant Professor
Educational Leadership, College of Education
San Diego State University

Marquita Grenot-Scheyer

Professor Emeritus
College of Education
California State University, Long Beach

Shireen Pavri

Assistant Vice Chancellor, Educator Preparation and Public School Programs
California State University, Office of the Chancellor

Tim Allen

Carlston Family Foundation

Mary Sandy

Executive Director
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing

Matt J. Navo

Executive Director
California Collaborative for Educational Excellence (CCEE)

Annamarie Francois

Executive Director
Center X, UCLA

Ilene Straus

Vice President
CA State Board of Education

Serette Kaminski

Legislative Advocate
Association of California School Administrators

Christine Cisco

Assistant Superintendent, Instructional Support Services
Stanislaus County Office of Education
Chair, Teacher Development Subcommittee
On behalf of CA County Superintendents Educational Services Assn. (CCSESA)

Anna Ortiz

Interim Dean
College of Education
California State University, Long Beach

Corinne Martinez

Associate Dean
College of Education
California State University, Dominguez Hills