We are a collaborative of educators, entrepreneurs, researchers, and analysts who offer creative work-based learning Career Technical Education experiences in partnership with schools, community colleges, and communities.
Kelly Cooper designs and builds equitable learning pathways that drive access to livable wage jobs. Her career passion is co-creating a culture of possibility where families realize their dreams to learn, earn, and care for each other. With 25 years of experience in California’s community college system as CIS faculty and, most recently, as Vice Chancellor at West Hills CCD, Kelly advocates for additive public, private partnerships with industry and social good organizations to guide students and teachers in collaborative endeavors. Today’s increasing complexity in technology, social caste, and media politics widens the chasm from youth to career. The transnational decline in hope felt by underrepresented students with dreams of family, property, and accomplishment creates a deficit model for individuals and communities. Kelly brings deep expertise in career technical education, economic development, budget management, curriculum implementation, and transnational community development. Her doctoral degree from the University of San Francisco, is in Educational Leadership with a Pacific Rim emphasis. Kelly’s grant writing and implementation experience began in 1997 and includes tens of millions of dollars targeting underserved students and educator professional learning.
Veronika Focht designs everything from books to logos to cookies. As Principal Designer for Livable Wage Jobs and 2 Degree Shift, Veronika leads Open Education Resources (OER) book design, technical editing, and accessibility compliance. Veronika is the graphic designer for OER content to include student activities, WBL projects, assessments, rubrics, etc. that strive to engage students and support teachers, counselors, and paraprofessionals.
Yasin Hassan graduated cum Laude from George Mason University in 2020 with a degree in Applied Mathematics. Yasin’s programming experiences include Python, MATLAB, SQL, R, AutoML, and PowerBI, modeling and analyzing COVID-19 data, and using machine learning as a diagnostic tool for pneumonia. Yasin’s Udacity certifications include Data Analysis and Visualization with Power BI, Programming for Data Science with R, Programming for Data Science with Python, and AI Product Manager. Additional areas of interest include electronics, technical writing, and blockchain technology. Yasin’s collaborative approach to learning engages students from different backgrounds with varying learning styles.
Benjamin Ramos is a contributor to project management and development through research of innovative educational programs at LWJ and 2 Degree Shift. He also oversees outreach efforts to publicize advancements made in educational projects for replication and scaling. Benjamin’s passion is assisting those who are underserved and seeing others strive in inequitable circumstances. His unique perspective on helping others was further developed in his most recent work at West Hills Community College where he collaborated in developing strategies and implementing training and development for migrant and seasonal farmworkers in rural communities. Additionally, Benjamin volunteers in a development team for innovative, standardized prison ministry efforts for his local church. His love for the human body led him to the field of Surgical Technology with an acute experience in orthopedics and spine surgery. Outside of work responsibilities, Benjamin loves endurance sports, national parks, and of course enjoying life with his wife.
Dara Ramos serves as Project Manager and Researcher for 2 Degree Shift. She is responsible for researching labor market trends to ensure development of new courses and pathways aligns to current industry demands. Dara also collaborates in pre-award grant application development and post-award grant management. She also manages the publishing and maintenance of Open Education Resources (OER) materials on national and state repository sites. Dara began working in higher education in 2016 working with grants and institutional data. She managed the ECampus Dual Enrollment program at West Hills College, helping underrepresented high school students earn CTE college credit and industry certifications. While at West Hills, Dara assisted in collecting and analyzing student-level data to assess achievement outcomes and identify equity gaps at the program, college, and district level.
Board Member Heidi Diamond offers education leadership and support in accreditation, grants management, curriculum development, new program creation, budget management, stakeholder collaboration, and consensus and team building. Heidi’s CA Community College career roles include Business Instructor, Division Chair, Dean of Business Design and Workforce, and Dean of Business and Technology. Heidi developed and supported relevant and timely career and transfer educational programs to prepare students for gainful employment and career success. She managed and implemented Strong Workforce, CTE Data Unlocked, and Perkins grant initiatives to support current and develop new programs in emerging sectors. Heidi earned a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and an MBA at Baruch College.
Board Member Lisa Conyers’ experience in CA community college leadership includes the positions of Vice President of Educational Services/Academic Affairs, Chief Student Services Officer, and Dean of Instruction positions. With significant experience in accreditation, strategic planning, dual-enrollment, cross-cultural career technical training, and all things instruction, Lisa’s teaching areas are Spanish, English, and English as a Second Language. Lisa earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish at UC Riverside; and her Master of Arts in Spanish at New York University. She has traveled extensively throughout her career, and was a Fulbright Seminar Participant to India, a Fulbright Exchange Administrator to Thailand, and the Director of American Language and Culture Programs of the International Institute in Spain. The recipient of teaching, citizen, and leader accolades, she served as Trustee and President of the Riverside County Board of Education, and as board member, chairperson, or commissioner for several civic and community organizations.