Heidi Landers, President
In 2004, Heidi Landers became a founding partner of Social Venture Partners Los Angeles where she became deeply involved in efforts to address the deep inequities and challenges of public education. Her experiences led her to the conclusion that problems at the local school level can’t be solved unless politicians and government leaders prioritize the interests of children over the adults in the school “business” and she has become very active in supporting candidates for school boards and the state legislature who share that perspective. When she has “spare” time, Heidi is writing a novel for teens. She grew up in Europe and speaks Spanish and French.
Amy Baker, Treasurer
Amy Guenther Baker is a co-founder of Parent Partnership for Public Education. Started in 2010, the non-profit focuses on educating and organizing parents on the Westside of Los Angeles in order to give parents a great understanding of and voice in public education policy. When she is not community organizing, Baker runs Gateway Management Company, a talent management company she started in 2002, representing actors, writers and directors. Baker graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television with a B.A. in Production and is an alumnae of Mary Institute in St. Louis, Missouri. A native Californian, Baker has lived in Los Angeles for 27 years. She and her husband have two daughters in an LAUSD public elementary school.
Russ Altenburg is CEO of Reframe Labs, a nonprofit that supports diverse leaders to design and launch innovative public schools in Los Angeles. Previously, he managed a portfolio of grants in the areas of personalized learning, new school models, and state policy as a program officer at the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. Prior to joining the foundation, he was an Education Pioneers Fellow at NewSchools Venture Fund. In 2005, he co-founded Global Playground and helped build schools in Uganda, Cambodia, Thailand, and Honduras. He previously worked at JPMorgan advising corporate clients on currency risk management. Russ holds a BSc in Economics from Duke University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he was awarded the John Wooden Leadership Fellowship. He was also part of the KIPP Leadership Design Fellowship and the inaugural cohort of the Pahara Next Gen Network.
Flores, a recent candidate for Congress in California’s 34th Congressional District, has dedicated her career to helping disadvantaged children. She spent four years on the LAUSD Board of Education, serving as vice president and ushering in groundbreaking reform policies.
She was the driving force behind the Parents as Equal Partners in the Education of their Children resolution, the Public School Choice resolution and the Educator Effectiveness resolution. Flores was a champion pushing for better outcomes for English language learners, better quality and access to LAUSD’s early education programs and more dual language programs from preschool through grade 12.
Flores is currently a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a collaborative effort of foundations, nonprofit partners, states and communities across the nation to ensure that more children from low-income families succeed in school. She is also a member of the board of the Education Trust and the Center for the Study of Social Policy, and is an active member of the Annie E Casey Foundation Children and Families Fellowship Network.
From 2010 to 2012, Flores served as President & CEO of Communities for Teaching Excellence, a national education advocacy organization working to ensure effective teaching for every student. Prior to her term on the LAUSD Board, Flores served for eight years as the CEO of the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council. She also founded and launched Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors – a nationally recognized parent leadership program for Latino parents with children 0-5 years old. Flores earned her master’s in Social Welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles and has twice been name social worker of the year in her region.
Shirley Ford is co-Founder of Parent Revolution and an accomplished, energetic parent activist with a solid history of achievement in inspiring parents and faith and community leaders to stand up and unite around better educational choices for children. Shirley knows first-hand from her personal experiences that success is possible and school choice should be a right for every family. Shirley has seen that great public schools are possible and that all children can learn, and is passionate about empowering parents to obtain great schools for their children, especially children in under-served and historically marginalized communities.
Her passion for parents’ rights and quality public education comes from her own experience raising her boys. Shirley first got involved in the movement when she was fighting for the education of her own sons, who were part of the first graduating classes of Animo Inglewood (a Green Dot school). Her middle son, Robert, became the first in their family to graduate from a university and is currently an English teacher at a high school in Houston, Texas.
As co-founder of Parent Revolution, Shirley has played leadership roles in many of the organization’s high profile campaigns, including passing the first-ever Parent Empowerment law in California. As a fierce advocate, Shirley took the message of parent empowerment on the road to organize parents in Texas, Connecticut, Florida, South Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Tennessee. She currently serves as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and spearheads the partnership work for Parent Revolution’s newest program, Choice4LA.
Shirley has furthered her education and received an Associate of Arts from Aenon Bible College and a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Counseling from California University of Theology. Her most recent accomplishment is obtaining her California State Ministers license with the Pentecostal Assemblies of The World under the leadership of Bishop Robert Douglas. Shirley is a member and minister at Jacob’s Ladder Community Fellowship Church. She is also a member of National Council of Negro Women and NAACP. Shirley is not only the mother of three wonderful sons, but also a proud grandmother of three.
Richard Landers has spent his professional life in the analysis of public and business policy and strategy issues, first as a U.S. State Department Foreign Service Officer, and subsequently for various business organizations. In the mid-1980s he co-founded a Los Angeles-based management consulting firm focused on energy services and technologies, and in 1995 he and his partners sold that business and created GFI Energy Ventures, a private equity investment firm. In his role as investor, he served on the boards of directors of several public and private companies. He retired from GFI in 2009 and now consults and pursues personal and philanthropic interests, primarily focused on environmental sustainability and the reform of public education. He was a founding partner and past volunteer director of Social Venture Partners Los Angeles and is currently a director of San Francisco-based Sustainable Conservation.
Aida Rodriguez is the Vice President of Advocacy and Government Relations at Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a charter school network dedicated to providing an exceptional education for all students, regardless of their background or zip code. Her entire professional career has been dedicated to ensuring that families and students help shape educational policies. Rodriguez’s commitment to educational equity is deeply connected to her own trajectory as a native Angelino and daughter of a Chinese Guatemalan immigrant family who went to great lengths to secure her a quality education. Her childhood was spent living with different relatives, including time in Guatemala City, which exposed her to different school districts and school systems.
Rodriguez spent five years working for Parent Revolution, rising from an organizer to California Organizing Director. Her first organizing campaign at 24th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles, where parents’ persistent efforts to demand more for their kids and their community resulted in an unprecedented district-charter collaboration. In addition to overseeing numerous school transformation campaigns, she led the launch of a Parent Power Institute that provided leadership, organizing, and advocacy training for families. She has also led state-level campaigns to ensure that the state prioritizes kids-first policies. Rodriguez participated in the preparation of a report co-written with Teach Plus and the Center for American Progress on the future of California's new school accountability system, spearheaded educational reform advocacy efforts in Sacramento and worked on a variety of education issues such as increased access to school choices and ensuring children are on track for college.
Rodriguez has a law degree from the UC Hastings College of the Law and a B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley. She served as a board member at an East Los Angeles non-profit community center dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for low-income families. In 2016, Rodriguez was selected to participate in Hispanics Organized for Political Equality (“HOPE”) which is a program designed to train and empower Latina women to serve in leadership roles.
Sylvia Wilson was born and raised in Modesto, California. After graduating high school, she moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA. While in college, she worked on Capitol Hill through the Washington Center program, first for Congressman Gary Condit and then Senator Dianne Feinstein. She graduated with a B.A. in English earning Departmental Honors.
After college, Sylvia attended law school at the University of Southern California, then began work as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles. For the past 16 years, her career has focused on protecting the rights of children and families.
She is married and has twin children who currently attend a public elementary school in Los Angeles. Sylvia serves on the outreach committee at her twins’ school, helping coordinate events and engage low-income and minority parents. Previously, she chaired the Scholarship Board and was a committee member for the McAlister School for Teenage Mothers through Century City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated.