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Lizette Patrón, Chief of Staff

Lizette Patrón was born and raised in Pico Union and graduated from Hamilton High school. She worked with InnerCity Struggle for 10 years, as the Site Organizer at Garfield High School, then becoming the Education and Communications Coordinator and later the Director of Education Policy. Lizette is a graduate of Cal State Northridge, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Chicano Studies. She has over 10 years of experience in training young people of color to challenge existing inequalities in schools through communications. She led InnerCity Struggle’s media messaging, media strategy and popular education curriculum development for adults and youth. 

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Sonia Reza, Director of Administration

Sonia Reza has committed more than 13 years to the children in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Boyle Heights, she proudly attended Bridge Elementary, Hollenbeck Middle and Wilson High School. Her extensive career in government has taken her from City Hall, to the California’s Capitol in Sacramento and back again to Los Angeles. As Director of Administration, Sonia puts her experience and management skills to work to make sure that our office runs smoothly and she focuses on addressing the concerns of students and families in Board District 2 to help get them on the path to graduation. She is the proud grandmother of 12 grandchildren, all of whom aspire to go to college after graduation.

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Mindy Kordash-Shim, Director of Policy

Mindy Kordash-Shim was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was 8 years old. She spent most of her childhood in Southern California and Portland, Oregon before attending the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate studies. She joined a teaching corps in 2011, which kicked off her professional work as a Los Angeles educator. Her first ever teaching role was summer school at Stevenson Middle School, a Board District 2 school. She pursued a master’s degree in Education with a concentration in Administration and Public Policy at Loyola Marymount University. Since then, she has taught in different regions of Los Angeles including Westchester, Koreatown and South LA, with a heavy focus in family engagement, trauma-informed pedagogy and social justice. 

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Teresa Cortes, Director of School & Community Wellbeing

Teresa Cortes is a first-generation Angeleno to attend college and pursue higher education. She graduated from University of Southern California with a masters in Social Work and has previously worked with Board Member García during the last year of her graduate career. In addition to her background in social work, she has experience in education assisting and teaching in public and private school settings and has worked in different educational non-profits. Teresa is an L.A. Unified graduate and she has had various champions in her life that have assisted her in her journey to empower children and families in the community. 

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Jennifer Valdivia, Director of External Affairs

Raised on the East side of the San Fernando Valley, Jennifer is a graduate from the Math, Science & Technology program at San Fernando High School. She attended UCSC (Santa Cruz) and later transferred to Cal State University of Long Beach, earring a BA in Political Science and a Legal Studies Certificate. In her early career, she worked for Mayor Eric Garcetti, supporting constituent services and managing special projects, later becoming the executive administrative assistant to the Director of External Affairs and overseeing the Mayoral Internship program. Following the Mayor's Office, Jennifer worked on transitioning the City of LA into its first public-private partnership for waste hauling within the realm of commercial and large multi-family buildings. The project allowed her the opportunity to work for LA Sanitation & Environment, where she served as a liaison for the bureau, facilitating close working relationships with key partners to improve livability services within the City of LA. Jennifer currently resides on the West side of the San Fernando Valley but continues to be passionate about making an influential difference throughout all of LA.