The Learning Accelerator Blog/Welcoming the Newest TLA Team Members

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Welcoming the Newest TLA Team Members

by Samantha Artukovich on February 15 2022

As The Learning Accelerator closed out 2021 and welcomed a new year, we also got to celebrate the addition of several new teammates to the organization. These team members – with decades of experience, notable accomplishments, and demonstrated passion for education among them – have joined us to lead and support multiple facets of TLA’s programs and functions, and we’re so excited for all they will bring to our work!

While our new team members have been settling into their roles, we asked them why they chose to join TLA and what they’re excited to be working on. Below, learn more about each of them and hear more – in their own words – about the innovative work they’re diving into.

Violet Ford

Dr. Violet Ford is an Associate Partner, Research and Measurement at TLA. As an experienced researcher and practitioner, the body of her work has been centered around equitable learning systems and college and career preparation in underserved communities. Violet has a multifaceted professional portfolio in implementation research, program operations, and professional learning development. She is most passionate about supporting leaders and practitioners through continuous improvement practices to implement innovative and effective learning systems for all students.

“I am thrilled to be on the TLA team! Joining the organization is an opportunity for me to contribute to research used in the field for accelerating learning in the K-12 space. I am most excited about providing research and measurement support for education leaders and practitioners as they explore and implement innovative and equitable learning systems.”

Michael Ham

Michael Ham is an Associate Partner at TLA. An experienced educator and alumnus of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge in technology integration, instructional leadership, and national edtech policy to the TLA team. Michael is passionate about decreasing the distance between practitioners and sector leaders to promote equitable, practical education reform.

“I have been following The Learning Accelerator's work since I was in the classroom. I joined the team because I know first-hand the guidance and resources we produce are powerful – and offer so much promise for the students furthest from opportunity. I'm incredibly excited to be jumping right into projects that will help state and local educational agencies support their educators with implementing tech tools to address the gaps that were worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Rashida Kimbrue Major

As an Associate Partner, Programs, Rashida Kimbrue Major connects systems leaders and practitioners with robust and innovative resources used to accelerate student learning. She is excited to leverage her commitment to improving schools through deep relationships, data, and responsive programming. Through varied professional experiences in education, Rashida became interested in ensuring students and teachers have access to necessary resources, and is passionate about promoting systemic change to facilitate growth in communities and progress across education. Rashida is motivated to close the opportunity gap through policy, particularly in urban areas.

“After working to develop, support, and retain school leaders in the third-largest city in the United States with the hopes of positively impacting student outcomes and environments, I wanted to do this work at scale. Having the opportunity to learn about the great things districts and school leaders are doing nationally – not just in Chicago – presented the chance to grow professionally and have a larger impact.”

Jessica Mayorga

Jessica Mayorga is Managing Director, External Affairs at TLA. An expert in branding, engagement and developing winning marketing and communication strategies, Jessica has significant experience working in nonprofit, education, and government spaces, engaging diverse audiences and facilitating strong organizational partnerships. Prior to joining TLA, Jessica served as the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Stand for Children, where she oversaw a multifaceted national marketing and communications program and helped to launch multiple new programs and products of Stand while also sharpening the organization’s brand.

“I'm thrilled to join the TLA team to be part of the organization's crucial and incredibly timely work to ensure that innovation in schools can deliver us closer to equity – especially for those students who have been historically and systemically denied opportunities to thrive. I'm incredibly fortunate to leverage my experience in communications, branding, partnership building, and stakeholder engagement to maximize awareness of TLA and build relationships that will allow us to achieve our goals. I'm most excited to facilitate collaborations with other education and social justice champions whose work is moving the needle on education equity, ensuring that the needs of all students are not only being met – but that they are being given the tools and support needed to achieve their greatest potential.”

We are excited to see the impactful work these new team members take on through their leadership within TLA and applaud their commitment to making lasting, equitable changes that improve learning for students and educators across the country.

About the Author

Samantha Artukovich is an Associate Director, Practitioner Learning, Platforms, & Production at The Learning Accelerator, where she brings her background in psychology and communications to help maximize TLA’s reach and impact through effective communications and thoughtful engagement. Based in the Los Angeles area, Samantha has worked at various levels of the education field since 2006.