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Announcing our Managing Director of Policy & Programs

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I am excited to announce a new leadership role for one of Advancement Project California’s most dynamic and impactful advocates – please join me in congratulating Karla Pleitéz Howell, our Managing Director of Policy and Programs!

We conceived this new position in 2018 to maximize our work in racial equity. As Managing Director of Policy and Programs, Karla will provide strategic support to four work areas (Educational Equity, Equity in Public Funds, Government Relations, and Political Voice), and oversee the growth and development of innovative and high-impact initiatives at the state and local levels.

As those of you who have partnered with Karla know, she is more than equal to the task. Since assuming the mantle of Director of Educational Equity in 2016, Karla has led the team to expand access to dual language programs for preschool children, and worked in coalition to secure one billion dollars in the state budget for early care and education (ECE) programs for babies and toddlers. She expanded community-engaged policymaking within the organization, seeking out partners on the ground to ensure their needs and experiences make it into the conversations at the highest levels of power. And just last year, Karla and her team conceived of and launched the new Birth to Twelfth Grade Water Cooler, creating a space for advocates across both the ECE and K-12 education systems to discuss and work toward agreement about the highest priority investments and supports needed in both sectors.

Karla is a civil rights advocate with over a decade of public interest law experience, including in ECE facilities, zoning and land use, and immigration. Her leadership will help us prepare for several challenges and opportunities of the next two years, including fixing racial inequities in early care and education, continuing to uplift Advancement Project’s census work and working in strong collaboration with partners to pass the Schools and Communities First Initiative to increase revenue for highest need communities.

Karla will continue to lead the work of the Educational Equity program until June of this year, and will support the transition to the new Director. Her work with the team in the past two years has clarified staff roles, developed new leaders, and strengthened the team’s coordination of their policy/advocacy, research, and community engagement work. They are well-prepared to achieve their goals focused on dual language learners, birth to twelfth grade alignment, expansion of ECE facilities, and equitable funding of the ECE and K-12 systems.

We would appreciate your support for Karla as she makes this transition, and furthermore, your assistance in recommending effective leaders to apply for the Director of Educational Equity position. Click here to view the job description.

If you have questions about the new Managing Director position, the Educational Equity Director job listing, or any of Advancement Project’s work to achieve racial equity, please contact Karla at or 213-989-1300.

John Kim
Executive Director