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Our Founders

Mildred S. Cunningham
UCLA Writing Fellow, and distinguished teacher of Language/Theater Arts, skilled in Business Administration, and Human Relations, has 33 years in the field of education, with a broad range of experiences working in ethnically and culturally diverse, inner city schools from pre-K to the high school level. An artist, author and entrepreneur, she has brought unique talents and skills to the classroom experience for children. Her work with middle school students earned her the distinguished California League of Middle Schools’ award of “Educator of the Year (1995-95) for Region 8” encompassing five counties within the state of California.

Edith Morris
20 year veteran Middle School Administrator has experience and expertise in Organization, Management, School Budget, Supervision of Instruction, Master Program Scheduling, and Counseling. As a teacher, grade counselor, and administrator, Ms. Morris fulfills 36 years of extended service to children, their families and community in 8 LAUSD’s middle schools; 4 of which being critical performance schools. While serving as a neophyte Principal, she attained over two million grant-funded dollars from corporate partnerships. She initiated a barrage of outstanding, creative programs, including state-of-the art technologies. Recognitions earned for her firm commitment to middle school reform and for providing exceptional educational options for children include CLMS Region 8 - Educator of the Year and the Lawry’s Foods, Inc., Administrator of the Year.

Marvin Avila, Sr., Ed.D,
Assistant Principal, Secondary Schools (LAUSD) and Certified Core Adjunct University Professor. He is currently a Professor at National University, Teaching Credentialing and Masters Program, and at Argosy (Formerly Sarasota) University is a Professor of Teacher Credentialing in the Masters and Doctoral Programs. He was formerly a Lecturer at Belize Teachers’ College, Belize, Central America, in the Extra Mural Department, and for the University of the West Indies. Dr. Avila holds a Bilingual Certificate of Competence (B.C.C.) –Spanish / English.

Our Board

Earl Wooten

Chairman

Earl G. Wooten, a native of Maysville, North Carolina, attended Davidson College, Davidson, NC where he earned a B.A. degree in Economics in 1984. He currently serves as a Regional Credit Manager in Wells Fargo Wealth Management Division, and his most recent prior role was West Coast Underwriting Manager for Wells Fargo Trade Capital. Earl also previously served as National Underwriting manager for Sun Trust Bank Factoring Division and Senior Credit Officer for Agricap Commercial Finance.   He currently serves as a Member of the Board of Finance of Grace United Methodist Church, and Vice President of the International Black Writers and Artists of Los Angeles.  

Melvin Ford

Vice Chairman

Mr. Ford has worked for Metro Transit Authority 19 years. Mr. Ford is a proud member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, and is a Deacon and on the Church council. Mr. Ford has been happily married for 16 years, and has two children, one which is an 8th grade student at TEACH.

Adrienne Lee

Board Member

Ms. Lee is currently a litigation attorney at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton in Costa Mesa, California. Ms. Lee graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2009 and UC Berkeley in 2006. Ms. Lee is firmly committed to ensuring that students attending TEACH Public Schools have the tools and support necessary to succeed. As an Americorps fellow, Ms. Lee previously provided outreach and college-readiness mentorship to students at Skyline High School in Oakland.

Kevin Hernandez

Board Member

Mr. Hernandez is an Associate Attorney with the firm Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP, where he practices defense-side general liability litigation. Prior to beginning his legal career, Mr. Hernandez taught in New York City as a Teach For America corps member, and later as a high school director and special education teacher at The Prentice School in Santa Ana, California. Mr. Hernandez earned a B.A in English and Philosophy from University of California, Irvine, a M.S in General and Special Education from Bank Street College of Education, and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Justin Shahbaz.

Board Member

Mr. Shahbaz has served in teaching and administrative roles at the Alliance Richard Merkin Middle School in Los Angeles since 2008. Currently, Mr. Shahbaz serves as the Assistant Principal of that school. Mr. Shahbaz earned a B.A. in International Relations and a M.A. in Teaching from University of Southern California.

Patrick Collins

Board Member 

Mr. Collins has over twenty years’ experience in financial services, and is currently the CEO of Collins Financial Services, providing tax, business consulting, investment and payroll services. Prior to that, Mr. Collins served as Director, and later Executive Director, of 3rd Party Audit for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Mr. Collins earned a B.S in Business Administration from University of Southern California School of Business and a J.D. from University of Southern California Law School.

Earl Turner
Board Member