Ensuring Education Equity

Perhaps no gap in our society has drawn more attention than the educational achievement gap.

Education reform initiatives have been developed, tested, tried, abandoned and revamped for decades, yet the gap persists. In some places it has grown wider in recent years.

Our panelists will share examples of progress in college readiness, perspectives on collective impact initiatives, legal challenges, and pedagogy that works. We'll hear about success in shifting the deficit mindset of leadership, teachers and students to a new approach focused on student strengths and we'll ask "what's next?" including how to close an underlying disparity by developing a pipeline of teachers of color.

Speakers: Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz, Sarah Garcia, Nolan Jones, Marvin Miller, Beth Schmidt.

About the speakers:

Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz Founding Executive Director, E3: Education, Excellence, & Equity

Dr. JuanCarlos Arauz
Founding Executive Director, E3: Education, Excellence, & Equity

JuanCarlos specializes in areas related to immigration, youth, and education. He completed his Ed.D. at the University of San Francisco in the Department of International and Multicultural Education. His dissertation research focused on the racial identity development of undocumented Latino youth. He is bilingual in Spanish and English, was born in Brazil to Nicaraguan parents and immigrated to the United States, which has provided him with exclusive insight into many of the issues that educators face today. He has traveled around the country as a keynote speaker, provided cultural competency trainings for educators and organizations, and has been featured in a documentary that focuses on contemporary civil rights activists. Consequently, his creative and unique approach provides schools with innovative solutions for students and teachers to achieve educational excellence and equity within the classroom. In addition to being the founding Executive Director of E3: Education, Excellence, & Equity, he currently serves as an adjunct professor at Dominican University and acts as a trustee for several independent schools and educational organizations.


Sarah L. Garcia Partner, Lozano Smith

Sarah L. Garcia
Partner, Lozano Smith

Sarah is a Partner in Lozano Smith's Walnut Creek and Fresno Offices and co-chair of the firm's Special Education Practice Group. Ms. Garcia specializes in Special Education and Student law. As a native of California's Central Valley, Ms. Garcia remains passionate about supporting the region and strengthening her longtime Valley relationships. She is committed to working with districts in Central California, while continuing to serve districts in the Bay Area and throughout Northern California. Prior to joining Lozano Smith, Ms. Garcia worked as Special Counsel in the San Francisco area where she represented school districts in due process hearings, expulsion proceedings, special education mediations, and on-site OCR investigations. Ms. Garcia teaches a School Law course in the Mills College graduate program.


Nolan A. Jones Director, Educational Leadership Program in the Mills College School of Education.

Nolan A. Jones
Director, Educational Leadership Program in the Mills College School of Education.

Nolan teaches a course on Hip Hop Pedagogy and is also the current director of the Mills College Upward Bound Project. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from UC Berkeley, a Masters Degree from Holy Names University, and a Doctorate Degree in Educational Leadership from Mills College. His academic interests include youth development, transformative education and Hip Hop Pedagogy. He has presented his research on Hip Hop Pedagogy at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, the American Anthropological Association, the National Association for Ethnic Studies, and the National Association for Multicultural Education.  He describes himself as a Hip Hop constructivist. 

Marvin Miller Director of Operations for The College Ready Promise

Marvin Miller
Director of Operations for The College Ready Promise

Marvin is the Director of Operations for The College Ready Promise, a national education reform start-up based in Oakland. TCRP aims to close the achievement gap for the over 200, 000 students it serves by providing sub-grants, technical/data support, and by convening a network of 17 top performing Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) to learn from one another. He has over 20 years of experience in the private sector, having worked for internet start-ups, corporate, and independent organizations. Prior to business school, he was Director of Music Licensing for an independent record label in New York City.

Marvin holds an MBA from Mills College, Lorry I Lokey Graduate School of Business and Public Policy and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations. He is a member of the prestigious Education Pioneers Fellowship, which trains leaders committed to reforming the broken education system, as well as The National Black MBA Association.

Currently, Marvin lives in Oakland with his partner, Jonathan Julian.


Beth Schmidt Portfolio Manager, Education, Emerson Collective

Beth Schmidt
Portfolio Manager, Education, Emerson Collective

Beth leads grant making efforts to build and support a portfolio of partnerships with nonprofit entrepreneurs and organizations whose missions are to radically improve outcomes for students and advance broader social justice efforts on their behalf. In addition to her work at the Emerson Collective, Beth is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Wishbone.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to sending low-income students to high-quality summer programs. Beth is a former Teach for America Corps Member and graduated from Middlebury College. She holds a Masters in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University. She is a Kauffman Labs Education Ventures Fellow, a Draper Richards Kaplan Entrepreneur, a Bluhm/ Helfand Social Innovation Fellow, and was celebrated twice on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list. She was honored by the World Economic Forum as a “Global Shaper”, and attended the 2014 Meeting in Davos, participating on the International Business Council to discuss the international youth unemployment crisis. In 2014, she was honored on the GOOD 100 list of top "people pushing the world forward through doing.”