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Aixle Aman | Chief of Staff
Aixle Aman is a former elementary and middle school teacher with a public policy degree from Berkeley, and a deep commitment to ensure all students have access to a high quality education.
Aixle (pronounced "Ace-El") grew up and went to school in the San Fernando Valley. She received her B.A. in Political Science at UC San Diego, and taught third and fifth grade students at a public school in Brooklyn through Teach for America. To improve her teaching, she earned a Master of Science in Teaching from Pace University. In 2008, she returned to California to teach middle school math and English at the Westside Neighborhood School.
Aixle completed a Master of Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. During her graduate experience, she analyzed how a high school career academy's goals aligned with those of the City of Oakland, the Oakland Unified School District, and the California Endowment. Her experience serving as a Graduate Student Instructor for Professor Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, deepened her understanding of some of the political and public policy debates around the distribution of wealth and opportunity in the U.S.
Before joining Dr. Rodriguez’s team, Aixle worked for former Board Member Tamar Galatzan for nearly three years. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in educational leadership for social justice at Loyola Marymount University.
Aixle serves schools and families in the communities of South LA and parts of Northeast Los Angeles.
Erika González | Director of Operations
Erika Gonzalez is Director of Operations for School Board Member Ref Rodriguez. She works closely with Dr. Rodriguez in scheduling meetings and events, processing bus requests, creating certificates, responding to constituent cases, and assisting staff in their efforts to support all schools in District 5. Erika will also work closely with the District’s Facilities Services Division in order to best support Board District 5 schools’ needs and requests. Before joining Dr. Rodriguez’s team, Erika worked for former Board Member Tamar Galatzan covering the West San Fernando Valley.
Born and raised in Board District 5, Erika has a passion for public service and the desire to make a difference. She previously worked for former Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas, spurring his efforts to create lactation rooms for new mothers in City Hall. Erika also helped organize DEAFestival, a family event held annually in Los Angeles in support of the deaf and hard of hearing community. She continues to serve as a volunteer of the festival. In addition, Erika worked with Councilman Cardenas during the time the Community-Based Gang Intervention Model was introduced and passed unanimously in the city. The model was implemented to provide a better understanding of how communities and governments throughout the country should invest in gang intervention as a way to increase peace-building efforts. During her time in the council office, landmark policies were established to fight human trafficking, and legislation was crafted which led to the creation of LAPD’s Animal Cruelty Task Force.
As the mother of two young children, Erika is motivated and thankful to be part of an organization and a member of a team that values high-quality education. She is proud to serve the students of the city she loves dearly.
Erika serves schools and families in the communities of Vernon, Cudahy, and parts of El Sereno, City Terrace, Bell and East LA.
Gabriella Barbosa | Policy Director
Gabriella grew up and taught in the Board District 5 communities of Silver Lake and South Gate, and is humbled to continue serving these communities as Policy Director to Board Member Ref Rodriguez. As Policy Director, Gabriella researches local, state and federal education laws and policies; authors board policy briefs and resolutions; analyzes legal and policy implications of board actions; forms and maintains collaborative relationships with constituents; and develops strategies for advancing policy goals that support students, families, teachers, and community members of Board District 5.
Previously, she was an Equal Justice Works Fellow
at Public Counsel, the largest public interest law firm in the nation. At Public Counsel, Gabriella started the English Learner Advocacy Project and advocated for equal educational opportunities on behalf of students with immigrant backgrounds in California public schools. Through a combination of direct legal representation, impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and collaborative community education, she worked to close the opportunity gap and improve the academic outcomes of students.
Gabriella was also a teacher in South Los Angeles public schools, where she became aware of systemic issues that prevent students from achieving at their highest potential. Gabriella went to law school in order to use law as a tool to tear down barriers and secure equal opportunity for marginalized communities. Also previously an Education Pioneers fellow, Gabriella sees education as the key to upward social mobility. Students are future workers, voters, and taxpayers whose educational pathways will shape the economy of California and the U.S Gabriella received a B.A. in Political Science and Human Rights from Columbia University and a Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School.
Gabriella serves schools and families in the communities of South Gate and parts of Silver Lake.
Ray López Chang | Field Deputy
Ray comes from a diverse family of an immigrant Nicaraguan-Chinese mother and Salvadorian father. Having been raised by community members of Northeast Los Angeles in Board District 5's Cypress Park, he has spent the course of his life building his awareness of the world and developing his understanding of social inequities. In 2010, he was elected to the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council and was recognized as the youngest elected Board Member of a Neighborhood Council in California. His campaign team was comprised of various student leaders, youth advocates, and community partners. Through his efforts organizing stakeholders, he cultivated and built his passion for advocacy and education. The following year, Ray took his passions north to pursue a B.A. in Sociology with Education and Gender emphases at the University of San Francisco.
During his undergraduate experience, Ray served as a mentor and academic literacy coach for students in the elementary, middle, and high school grades. He also worked with the USF School of Law for four years to organize lawyers, judges, and legal leaders to come together for events grounded in social justice. Amidst his responsibilities, Ray spent time as the Co-President of an organization that worked to empower people on issues of race, class, educational access, and gender. Upon completion of his Bachelor’s degree, he returned to Los Angeles in hopes of becoming an indispensable resource to the community he was raised in. As Field Deputy, Ray serves as a liaison between Dr. Rodriguez and the schools and communities of Northeast Los Angeles – from East Hollywood through Eagle Rock. He manages constituent casework; builds and maintains relationships with political, advocacy, and local community groups; collaborates with his team to create systems of engagement; and represents Dr. Rodriguez at community meetings and events in Board District 5.
To supplement his work, Ray is currently serving as an ACTIVATE Fellow with Arts for LA to gain mastery over his advocacy skills for the arts at a local, state, and federal level as well as a New Leaders Council Fellow to build his capacity around progressive values and leadership development.
Ray is the main point-of-contact for the Northeast Los Angeles communities. He serves schools and families in the communities of Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Glassell Park, Cypress Park, Atwater Village, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, East Hollywood, and parts of Echo Park.
Nadia Luna | Community Office & Communications Assistant
Nadia is a first
generation college student from a Mexican immigrant family. Raised in the
Inland Empire, she has recently moved to Los Angeles County to attend school full-time at
California State University, Long Beach, where she is currently a candidate for a
Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies.
Nadia works part-time as the Community Office and Communications Assistant for Board District 5. She is fluent in Spanish and is primarily based out of the Board District 5 community office located in South Gate. She will be managing constituent cases, supporting the Board District 5 website and social media platforms, processing certificate and bus transportation requests, and coordinating the KLCS show LAUSD At Its Best, which is hosted by Dr. Rodriguez.
Nadia has turned
her familial, economic and personal struggles into learning lessons that would
later develop into her passion for helping others. Her passion for social
justice has led her to work with diverse, underprivileged populations. In her
spare time, she volunteers at local shelters and schools.
that everyone can have a positive impact in another’s life and that the most
effective way of changing the future is through education. Nadia strives to
make education the empowering tool for success, and is excited and thankful to
continue helping the communities around her.
Chris Copolillo | Policy Advisor Fellow
Chris Copolillo is a former middle and high school history
teacher interested in advancing opportunity for all children.
Chris first worked in the education field as the founding
local program coordinator of Kids Connection Haiti in Port au Prince. Wanting
to more directly influence student outcomes, Chris then taught world history in
Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood through Teach for America. He continued teaching in New Orleans, where
he additionally organized communities as a part of a US Senate race and worked
to bring excellent teachers to a high performing charter school network. Chris
comes to Los Angeles with the goal of using data and research to enact
exceptional public policies benefitting all students, especially those who are
As a LEE Policy Advisor Fellow, Chris contributes
research-based materials to the team that help to inform Dr. Rodriguez’s policy
decisions. He holds a B.A. in Global Policy and Justice from James Madison
University, a Master of Education and Social Change from the University of
Miami (FL), and is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy from the Sol
Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.