Meet Valieria Koss

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Valieria joined Families That Can in August 2012 and works with parents and schools in the San Diego area and the Inland Empire as a Director of Family and Community Engagement.

One of my earliest memories is of my mom fighting so hard to get me into an elementary school that was just a few blocks from my house. I was refused admission because of our zip code and instead the school where I was assigned to attend kindergarten was one with not only the lowest test scores, but problems with drugs and violence on campus. I was fortunate because my mom worked so hard and knew the impact a quality education can have on a child's life trajectory. Ultimately, I was able to enroll in quality public schools and go on to earn a Master's Degree while several of my neighborhood friends were not as lucky. However, I grew up with the deep belief that a quality education should not be a right for some and an unattainable goal for others just because of where you live. In order to put my beliefs into action, throughout my career I have partnered with agencies whose mission is providing quality education for all students.

I've worked with great organizations including Jumpstart (through AmeriCorps), Head Start (Neighborhood House Association) and Teach for America dedicated to ensuring quality education for all students from the Pre-K to High School level. I am extremely passionate about the charter school movement having taught for several years in a charter school in New Orleans, Louisiana. Commitment, dedication and a belief that every child can succeed when given an opportunity makes me thrilled to join the amazing team at FTC and CCSA. I have also served as a Government Relations Liaison in Southern California and Washington D.C. for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). In this role, I particularly enjoyed developing partnerships with elected officials and their staff and to have parents and community members engage legislators in productive dialogue. While earning my Master's Degree in Public Policy, I focused my research projects on examining socio-economics/race and education in Southern California and abroad.

While I love working with students; parents can often be one of my favorite groups of people. I can think of no one as passionate and motivated to ensure that students receive a quality education than parents. Giving them the tools and confidence they need to become impactful advocates is one of the most exciting parts of my job at Families That Can. The partnerships we can create with parents will have such a dramatic impact not only on the lives of their own children, but really all students. Visiting school sites and meeting the innovative and passionate teachers and charter leaders as well as the parents and students committed to education makes every day even better than the day before. There is so much passion and innovation in charter schools in San Diego and the Inland Empire and I am thrilled to be able to help share and shape this movement. My mom has been such a role model for me. I'm excited for students to witness first-hand their own parents finding their voice and having an impact on the education movement.