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Ana Ponce, Ed.D. ’13: SOE Educator of the Year
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Ana F. Ponce, Ed.D. ’13, the youngest daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first in her family to graduate from college, now can boast of another first — the first graduate of the LMU School of Education Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice program to receive SOE’s Educator of the Year award.
Ponce was honored with the 2019 award in April at the annual Kappa Delta Pi and SOE Awards Ceremony, where she delivered a keynote speech.
Currently executive director of Great Public Schools Now, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Los Angeles students receive a high-quality education, Ponce has devoted her career to closing the achievement and opportunity gaps for low-income minority students. After graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont, she taught at a public school in South Los Angeles through Teach For America. After serving three years in the classroom, Ponce landed a fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York, where she earned a master’s degree in bilingual education.
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Returning to Los Angeles, Ponce helped open the first independent charter school in South L.A., where she taught for seven years before becoming chief executive officer of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, a network of six charter schools and an early education center serving more than 3,600 students in central Los Angeles.
In more than 18 years at Camino Nuevo, Ponce found herself working with families in the neighborhood where she grew up, investing them and their children in being college ready, college bound. During her tenure, she was instrumental in driving the success of the organization and championing high-quality educational opportunities for students. She demonstrated that schools comprised almost entirely of English Learners, in some of the city’s poorest and densest neighborhoods, could achieve extraordinary results and serve as models of excellence.
It is an honor to recognize Ana for her extraordinary leadership and unwavering commitment to ensuring that children and families across Los Angeles have access to a quality education.
In 2011 Ana Ponce was named one of the seven most powerful educators in the world by
Forbes
magazine
Ponce’s success was recognized in 2011 by Forbes magazine, which in 2011 named her one of the seven most powerful educators in the world. She joined Great Public Schools Now in February 2019.
“It is an honor to recognize Ana for her extraordinary leadership and unwavering commitment to ensuring that children and families across Los Angeles have access to a quality education,” says Mary K. McCullough, interim dean and professor of the LMU School of Education. “We are proud of her and the work she is doing to pursue educational equity and quality in our city.”
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