Ellen Pais became president & CEO of LAEP in January 2012, after seven years as senior director of LAEP’s Connecting Communities programs. She has 25 years of experience in community building, community relations and the law. She was the driving force behind LAEP’s expansion and development of community collaboratives and community-school partnerships and currently sits on the Steering Committee of the National Coalition for Community Schools. Before joining LAEP, she was CEO for Planned Parenthood of Pasadena. As a lifelong community activist, she facilitated relationships and coordinated resources between communities and nonprofit organizations with a particular emphasis on educational equity. She earned a J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law, and a B.A. from UC Berkeley.
Kevin Matthews, chief financial officer, has more than 18 years of experience as an auditor, cost accountant, controller, vice president of finance & administration, and chief financial officer. The majority of his career has been with nonprofits, and he first joined LAEP in 2001. Since 2005 he has fulfilled the CFO role in a consultant capacity and is now president of Noble Accounting LLC, a firm that exclusively provides accounting and CFO services to non-profit organizations. Kevin graduated from the University of Westminster in London, England, and he is a Fellow of the Chartered Certified Accountants, a worldwide accounting qualification that is the equivalent of the U.S. CPA. He is also a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Jennie joined LAEP in 2009 as a community school coordinator and is currently the Director of Development and Evaluation. She has been in the field of education, youth development, leadership, and community development for over 17 years as a tutor, teacher and as a volunteer to nonprofits focused on youth development, leadership, and social entrepreneurship; immigrant parent engagement; empowering young Latino males; college access; and community schools. She has a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an Ed.M. from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.
Lara Kain joined LAEP as senior director of Transform Schools in 2013. Prior to LAEP, she worked for four years at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, providing expert leadership and technical support for low-achieving schools and districts, including Title I and School Improvement Grants. She also worked for the University of Wisconsin–Madison and as a teacher and administrator of small public high schools with values and practices that are similar to those of LAEP’s Humanitas and community schools. She has a bachelor’s in education from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a master’s in public administration from Evergreen State College.
Elvia De La Torre, senior director of Early Childhood Initiatives, joined LAEP in 2000 after working for HealthNet and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She oversees LAEP’s early childhood and family engagement programs. She is an active member of the Parent Organization Network, a collaborative of parent advocacy organizations throughout Los Angeles County and is one of the co-authors of the PON parent engagement standards for schools. She holds a B.S. in health education from Cal State Northridge. She was part of the first Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations class, a six-month leadership program offered by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.