Meet the Chair and Co-Chair of CA’s New Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond has appointed two education professionals to head California’s new Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative. The effort strives to improve outcomes among students of color and bridge the racial divide in academics.

Ryan Smith, who serves as Chief External Officer of Partnership for Los Angeles Schools, was selected as Chair on May 1. He previously worked as Executive Director of The Education Trust-West, a research and advocacy group dedicated to education justice and achievement equality.

“His projects included the Black Minds Matter report, which focused on supporting the educational success of black children in California, as well as the study, ‘The Majority Report: Supporting the Success of Latino Students in California,’” according to a CDE press release

Ten days after Smith’s appointment, Thurmond also announced the selection of Closing the Achievement Gap’s new Co-Chair Manufou Liaiga-Anoa’i.

Anoa’i is the Health and Nutrition Services Manager for the Institute for Human and Social Development and a member of the Jefferson Elementary School District Board in Daly City.

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