Board of Directors
The CORE Board of Directors, as well as CORE’s Finance Committee and Audit Committee, are composed of superintendents from member districts, and is lead by Board President, Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent of Oakland Unified. The Board meets three times a year.
CORE’s Finance Committee includes Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell, Superintendent Gabriela Mafi, and Superintendent Jerry Almendarez. CORE’s Audit Committee consists of Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and Superintendent Jill Baker.
Superintendent, Sacramento City Unified School District
Jorge Aguilar was named superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District in May 2017, after serving as Associate Superintendent for Equity and Access at Fresno Unified School District. Aguilar has more than 20 years of experience in K-12 and higher education, with a strong focus on equity and achievement. He has a track record of improving academic achievement for students with special needs, English language learners and children living in poverty.
Aguilar has a degree in Latin American studies and Spanish and Portuguese from University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
Recognized as a state and national education leader, Aguilar has also worked as a legislative fellow in the state Capitol, and served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Educational and Community Partnerships at U.C. Merced, where he also served as Special Assistant to the Chancellor. As a result of his work in Fresno Unified, the district increased graduation rates, cut dropout rates and raised the “A-G” completion rates.
Aguilar’s accomplishments earned him an invitation to the White House in 2015 from then First Lady Michelle Obama to present on educational equity and access at a convening hosted by the National Consortium for School Counseling and Postsecondary Success.
He is also the recipient of the Winston Doby Impact Award, given to exceptional professionals who are chosen by their colleagues for their commitment to improving educational opportunities for California students. In 2015, he was appointed to the state’s Advisory Task Force on Accountability and Continuous Improvement.
Aguilar is married and has four children who are enrolled in Sacramento City Unified School District.
Superintendent, Santa Ana Unified School District
Before coming to SAUSD, Jerry Almendarez served as Superintendent of Colton Joint Unified School District since 2010 and was responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day operations of an economically and ethnically diverse district of 23,000 students.
Almendarez’ career in education spans 27 years, and includes experience as a classroom teacher, an assistant principal and a principal. He also served as Director of Human Resources for Colton Joint Unified from 2003 to 2007, and Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources from 2007 to 2010.
As the new Superintendent of the Santa Ana Unified School District, Almendarez is responsible for leading the 10th largest school district in the state, with 61 schools and programs, approximately 5,000 employees, and an expense budget of $697.4 million.
Almendarez has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Redlands, and a bachelor’s degree in business/finance from Cal State San Bernardino.
He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and the University of Redlands, and in March was named a 2019 Ted-Ed Innovative Educator.
Superintendent, Long Beach Unified School District
Dr. Jill Baker was unanimously selected by the Board of Education as superintendent of the Long Beach Unified School District effective August 1, 2020. The school district is California’s fourth largest, with about 70,000 students.
Prior to her appointment as superintendent, Dr. Baker worked for 28 years at LBUSD as a successful teacher, principal and central office administrator. Her leadership contributed to increased student achievement, the development of multiple districtwide initiatives and systems, and a culture of continuous improvement.
A Long Beach resident, Dr. Baker has been recognized by several community-based organizations for her encouraging leadership and her advocacy for high expectations and support for students in need. She has worked closely with community groups such as Californians for Justice and the California Conference for Equality and Justice to include student voices in the development of programs and policies that focus on excellence, equity and inclusion.
Dr. Baker served as deputy superintendent of schools for six years prior to becoming superintendent. During that time, she provided leadership, supervision and support to multiple departments in LBUSD, ensuring that students graduate ready for college and careers. Her departmental oversight included early learning, leadership development, curriculum and instruction, and school supervision and support. She led the implementation of the principal supervisor learning community, a multi-year effort that focused on educational excellence and equity by improving coaching and support for principals. Her work with new and aspiring administrators was recognized nationally and was credited with building a high-quality leadership pipeline that would benefit local schools for many years to come. She helped to author several nationally published, scholarly articles on LBUSD’s work, particularly on the topic of leadership development.
Dr. Baker also helped to develop evaluation systems for classified and certificated personnel. She co-chaired the English Language Learner/Social-Emotional Education Task Force on closing achievement gaps, and she served on the bargaining team for union negotiations. A teacher at heart, Dr. Baker spends much of her time in local schools, maintaining an “in-the-field” perspective and interacting with teachers and administrators.
Prior to her work as deputy superintendent, Dr. Baker held various assistant superintendent positions and was chief academic officer while LBUSD saw several critical milestones: an increase in the school district’s elementary promotion standards; the implementation of a collaborative K-12 walk-through process for school visitations; refinement of standards-based report cards; launching Transitional Kindergarten; co-leadership of the principal evaluation system development team and other efforts to cultivate a leadership pipeline.
Dr. Baker enjoys multiple connections with local organizations, foundations and universities, all of which continue to support efforts in the school district. She also serves on two non-profit boards that support the Long Beach community.
Starting as an exemplary teacher at Burnett Elementary School (now Smith Elementary) in 1992, Dr. Baker then worked as a successful principal at Garfield Elementary School from 1998 to 2005 before serving as a central office administrator in LBUSD for 14 years.
In 2005, Dr. Baker completed her tenure as a fellow in the Broad Urban Superintendents Academy. She earned her doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Southern California in 2004, master’s degree in school administration at California State University, Long Beach in 1998, and her bachelor’s degree in sociology at University of California, Irvine in 1991.
Dr. Baker was born at Beale Air Force Base in Marysville, Calif. Her parents had earlier met in Japan while both working on a U.S. Air Force base there. Her mother was teaching for the Department of Defense, and her father was an officer in the Air Force. Her parents settled in Santa Cruz, Calif., where Baker was raised until she left for college.
She is the proud mother of an LBUSD graduate who is currently a college sophomore, and she married an LBUSD graduate, Trevor Baker, more than 27 years ago.
Dr. Baker has earned numerous awards and accolades, including the Education Champion Award from the Mayor’s Fund and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and the Secondary Education Award from the Long Beach Branch NAACP, which also recognized her with an Outstanding Women Award. The Teachers Association of Long Beach presented her with a Golden Apple Award for Administrators, and Soroptimists International named her a Woman of Distinction.
Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District
Austin Beutner was named Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District in May 2018. Mr. Beutner is a civic leader, philanthropist, public servant and business executive who has worked for the last decade to make Los Angeles a stronger community. During this time, he has served as First Deputy Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, Publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Co-Chair of the LA 2020 Commission and the L.A. Unified Advisory Task Force, and founded Vision To Learn.
Superintendent, Oakland Unified School District
Kyla Johnson-Trammell, who has more than 18 years of service to Oakland Unified School District, was named superintendent of the district in May 2017.
She had been the district’s interim deputy superintendent of academic and social-emotional learning, as well as the district’s lead network superintendent of elementary schools.
Johnson-Trammell has also served the district as a teacher, principal, director of talent development, and associate superintendent for leadership, curriculum and instruction.
The Oakland native is known as a fierce advocate for Oakland Public Schools, which she attended as a student. Johnson-Trammell strives to work collaboratively with staff to unearth and eliminate inequities that impede student learning. She is known for being a strong instructional leader who has developed deep relationships in the district.
Johnson-Trammell earned her master’s degree and doctorate in educational leadership from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from University of Pennsylvania.
She is a recipient of the Oakland Unified School District Leadership Excellence Award, and the district’s Principal Academic Excellence Award. She was keynote speaker at the American Educational Research Association’s annual conference.
Superintendent, Garden Grove Unified School District
A first-generation college graduate, Gabriela Mafi, Ed.D., was confirmed as the Superintendent of the Garden Grove Unified School District effective July 1, 2013. The nearly 49,000-student district is the 11th largest in California and 96th largest in the United States. The district has 68 schools, including seven comprehensive high schools, serving most of Garden Grove and portions of Santa Ana, Westminster, Fountain Valley, Cypress, Stanton, and Anaheim. The student population is 88% minority, 67% low income, and 48% still designated as English learners, with almost 75% designated as non-native English speakers. The District was selected as the 2004 winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education and was one of five finalists in both 2002 and 2003.
Dr. Mafi joined the GGUSD in 2002 as a K-6 Principal, having served as an administrator and teacher in the preceding years at both the elementary and secondary levels. Prior to becoming Superintendent, she has served as the Executive Director of USC’s Ed.D. Program, Director of Personnel, Director of 7-12 Instruction and Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education
A product of urban Los Angeles, Dr. Mafi received her bachelor’s degree from Cal State Long Beach and her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Southern California.
Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District
Vincent Matthews, a San Francisco native who began his teaching and administrative career in the city, has served as the superintendent of San Francisco Unified School District since May 2017.
The 30-year veteran educator had been the state-appointed superintendent of Inglewood Unified School District in Los Angles County since October 2015. Prior to Inglewood, Matthews led the San Jose Unified School District for five years, and was the state-appointed superintendent of Oakland Unified. He also served as an area superintendent for San Diego City Schools.
Matthews has a wealth of instructional and leadership experience, in addition to knowledge about the budgeting process.
He earned his bachelor’s degree, teaching credential and doctorate in educational leadership from San Francisco State University.
As superintendent in San Jose, Matthews was credited with raising academic achievement, narrowing the achievement gap between Latino and white students, and passing landmark agreements with the San Jose teacher’s union that included teachers evaluating their peers.
As the state administrator of Oakland Unified, he oversaw the district as it sought to regain local control after requiring a $100 million bailout from the state.
Matthews and his wife have three grown children.
Superintendent, Fresno Unified School District
Bob Nelson has spent 23 years working for Fresno Unified. Beyond his family, his love and passion is in education. He has been a Fresno Unified teacher, vice principal, principal, human resources administrator, and before returning to the district two years ago, he served as Superintendent in Chawanakee Unified in Madera County. He still teaches at Fresno State one night per week and is currently finishing his doctoral degree at the University of Southern California. As a lifelong learner, he believes that education is the key for success and he wants FUSD’s students to have an opportunity to succeed.