Our Team






Dr. John Garcia III is currently President of the Greater Los Angeles Education Foundation. Previously, he was the Senior Program Officer for Education at the California Community Foundation.  John has served as a consultant for the National Governors Association, Jobs for the Future and the Southern Regional Education Board. He was also a policy analyst for the White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for Hispanics and resident fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. John began his career in education as a school counselor after working for Intel Corporation and Jet Propulsion Laboratory and founded the Arizona College Access Network at the Arizona Commission for Post-secondary Education.  

John received his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Arizona State University. He received his doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. John is currently a board member of Grantmakers for Education, Social Venture Partners Los Angeles, and the New York Leadership Academy.

Steven Purcell, MBA, Ed.D.

Steven Purcell, MBA, Ed.D.


Steven Purcell is the Director of Strategic Partnership at the Greater Los Angeles Education Foundation.  

Previously, Steven was the chief of staff at Bellwether Education Partners. Prior to his role at Bellwether Education Partners, he was the director of college partnerships at the KIPP Foundation where he led a team keenly focused on supporting KIPP Alumni in their pursuit of postsecondary attainment. Before this position, Steve was a program and policy development advisor at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) where he led the development and implementation of a district-wide performance management system. His work has been instrumental in stewarding LAUSD towards meeting its district performance goals and building capacity within central office departments to make the shift from a compliance culture to a performance culture. 

After completing business school, he was accepted as a Broad Resident in Urban Education and spent the two years of his residency in the San Francisco Unified School District. He then spent ten years dedicated to working to improve our public education system through his strategic, analytical, and operational expertise. 

Steve has a BS in industrial and systems engineering from the University of Southern California (USC) and an MBA from Pepperdine University with a concentration in entrepreneurship. Finally, he is pursuing a doctorate in education from Loyola Marymount University.

Sam Gelinas, MPP

Sam Gelinas, MPP


Sam Gelinas is the Director of Development and External Engagement at the Greater Los Angeles Education Foundation.

Previously, Sam was the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships at Educational Facilities Group, a Los Angeles based firm that led the development of permanent campuses for public schools in California. Prior to that Sam was the Chief Program Officer at the LA Promise Fund, where he oversaw a diverse portfolio of work that addressed issue areas including arts education, girls empowerment, career readiness, college access and success and family engagement. Sam started his career as a Special Education teacher in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools.

Sam received his BA in Sociology and Psychology from Pitzer College. He holds a master’s in education from George Washington University and a MPP from the University of Southern California. 

Kristina Romero, MSW

Kristina Romero, MSW


Kristina Romero serves as the Special Assistant to the President of the Greater Los Angeles Education Foundation. 

Previously, Kristina served as Manager of Education and Workforce Development at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and its strategic affiliate UNITE-LA. There, Kristina led L.A. Cash for College, the region’s largest financial aid literacy and college information campaign. In addition, Kristina engaged the local business community, K-12 partners, government agencies, and other civic groups to advance financial aid policy reform at the state and federal levels. With a firm grasp of both practice and policy, Kristina advised the L.A. College Promise partners on ways to better address students’ unmet financial needs.  

Kristina earned her bachelor’s in education and psychology at Brown University and her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis on community organization, planning, and administration from the University of Southern California.


Dr. Debra Duardo, Board Chair, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Duardo is the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools. Previously executive director of Student Health and Human Services for the Los Angeles Unified School District, she has more than 30 years of professional experience working with at-promise students and their families. Her unique life experience as a high school dropout able to overcome obstacles drives her passion to ensure that all students receive an education in a safe, caring environment and that every student is college-prepared and career ready.
Gloria Rogers, Board Treasurer & Secretary, Assistant VP of Business Development, California Credit Union

Ms. Rogers is currently the Assistant Vice President of Business Development for the California Credit Union where she previously served as a Business Development Officer. She is responsible for the CCU Annual Scholarship and other programs to support the education community.

Candace Bond McKeever, CEO, Strategic Solutions Group Inc.

Candace Bond McKeever is CEO of Strategic Solutions Group Inc., a small, diversified minority owned organization specializing in a full array of government and community relations, project  management services, and strategic management consulting. With over 20 years of experience as a business development specialist, Ms. Bond McKeever has been retained by leading corporations and non-profits to assist in their overall strategic development. She currently serves as Chair of the MLK Health and Wellness Community Development Corporation and was recently recruited by CA State Treasurer Fiona Ma to participate on her statewide Housing and Economic Development Committee.  She also serves on the Board of Trustees for Charles Drew University and the Malibu Foundation and recently served as a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Education. 

Capri W. Maddox, Executive Director, LA Civil and Human Rights Dept., City of Los Angeles

Special Assistant City Attorney Capri Maddox currently serves as a senior advisor to City Attorney Michael N. Feuer. In this role, she is responsible for leading Special Projects on behalf of the elected City Attorney, such as: spearheading the City Attorney Business Support program, creating the Foster Care Diversion Program, organizing the City Attorney Faith Based Council, overseeing Recruitment and Outreach efforts, addressing key Neighborhood Council and City Council requests, participating in criminal and civil cases, and coordinating school safety projects with LAUSD. She continues her involvement with many higher educational institutions, including mentoring students at numerous universities and serving as a California State University of Los Angeles President’s Council Member. Ms. Maddox is also a proud member of the Southern California Public Radio Board of Trustees – SCPR locally broadcasts on KPCC 89.3FM.

Chris Steinhauser, Former Superintendent of Long Beach Unified School District

Supt. Chris Steinhauser served as superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District between 2002 and 2020. Supt. Steinhauser has more than 40 years of experience in Long Beach’s diverse school system and has earned a national reputation for improving student achievement and closing achievement gaps. His school district won the national Broad Prize for Urban Education and has qualified as a finalist for the award five times.

Cord Jefferson, Writer & Television Producer

Cord Jefferson is a writer and television producer from Tucson, Arizona. He received a Primetime Emmy in 2020 for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special. Prior to his work in television, Cord was a journalist. His work has appeared in National Geographic, The New York Times, and The New York Times Magazine. He developed an investment in public education through his experience as a public school student, and through his mother who was a career educator in public schools, both as a teacher and administrator.

David Sanford, Portfolio Manager, Hitchwood Capital

David is a Partner and Portfolio Manager at Hitchwood Capital, a hedge fund launched in 2014. David leads the west coast office and is responsible for the firm’s investment strategy. His investments are primarily focused on emerging and disruptive technology.  Throughout his career, David has demonstrated a commitment to social impact. While living in New York David volunteered through the Harlem Children’s Aid Society, tutoring low-income students. After moving to San Francisco David launched the NextGen Leadership Council for the Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco.

Elizabeth Graswich, Executive Director of Communications, LA County Office of Education

Elizabeth Graswich is Executive Director of Communications for the Los Angeles County Office of Education. She’s a veteran communications executive in public education leadership, with expertise in public policy, media relations, crisis management, project management, community outreach, social media, marketing, and event planning. She has 15 years of experience in strategic communications for large, high profile public agencies where she directed crisis management and rapid response, CEO and senior leadership messaging, media relations, parent engagement, initiative leadership, community relations and outreach, brand management, and digital media.

Dr. Monte E. Perez, President, LA Mission College

A member of the County Board of Education, Monte E. Perez, Ph.D., is president of Los Angeles Mission College. He was assistant director of Admissions at Stanford University and later director of Educational Opportunity Program and Student Support Services at California State University, Los Angeles. He serves on the Governing Board for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities.


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