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.
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.
Dr. Xiomara Mateo-Gaxiola is Senior Director of Transform Schools and RISE: Resilience in School Environments a partnership between Kaiser Permanente and Los Angeles Education Partnership. Transform Schools includes Community Schools, Teaching & Learning, and RISE. Community schools offers integrated student supports that coordinate opportunities and access to high quality school and community services. Teaching and learning provides professional development in pedagogical content knowledge, strategic planning, and instructional coaching for teachers and administrators. RISE fosters trauma-informed and resilience building policies and practices in schools. Dr. Mateo-Gaxiola started her career as a 3rd and 4th grade teacher and Math instructional coach. Her interests in improving teaching conditions led her to the University of Southern California to design research studies on teachers’ reflective practices, write curriculum for USC’s School Administrator’s credentialing program, and teach in USC’s Equity Educator’s Certificate Program. Her doctorate from USC is in Urban School Leadership.