Op-Ed: Parents have a powerful role in improving literacy education

Dear Friends,

We are proud to announce that the Families In Schools (FIS) Board of Directors has selected Yolie Flores as its next CEO/President. After a months-long search, in partnership with the Hawkins Company, we have found the next leader that will move us forward in our mission to involve parents and communities in their children’s education to achieve lifelong success.

Many of you know Yolie. She has dedicated her career to improving the lives of children and families. Throughout her 30-year career, she has held various leadership, management, consultant and policy positions in city and county government, non-profit organizations, philanthropy, and in elected office. In every position, Yolie has committed herself to lifting up parents and helping ensure that all kids- most especially children from low-income families- grow up with opportunities to lead rich and fulfilling lives.
Yolie currently serves as the National Campaign Director for Parent Nation, a project of the TMW Center at The University of Chicago. Together with Dr. Dana Suskind, Yolie is laying the groundwork to mobilize parents to demand a society that supports them in doing the most important job there is: raising children. Previous to this role, Yolie served as Chief Learning Officer with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, where she led the Successful Parents initiatives and supported more than 350 communities across the nation in their efforts to ensure early school success for more children from economically-challenged families.

Born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in Los Angeles, Yolie attended schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) – the same schools she represented as an elected member of the LAUSD Board of Education for four years between 2007-2011. During her tenure, Flores led efforts that challenged the culture of failure and that denied too many children a quality education. Her accomplishments included the Parents as Equal Partners in the Education of their Children resolution – the district’s most robust plan to ensure parents a meaningful role in their children’s education, and the Public School Choice resolution, creating a sense of urgency for change, challenging the status quo, and demanding quality education plans for newly built schools and underperforming schools.

Yolie was the first person in her family to attend a four-year university, earning a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands, and a Master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles. She began her career as a social worker at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where she created and led DWP Family Care, a nationally recognized employer-supported child care and family support program. She later became the Director of Child Care Policy and Planning for the City of Los Angeles. After serving as a policy consultant to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Yolie served as CEO of the Los Angeles County Children’s Planning Council, the nation’s largest children’s partnership network.
For almost a decade, she led an ambitious change agenda that focused on strengthening families and improving outcomes for children through large-scale reform, family and community engagement, and data-driven planning and policy development. Some of her key accomplishments include establishing community partnerships through the LA County Service Planning Area Councils, the development of a “safe surrender” policy, and the launch of

Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors, the nation’s first evidence-based parent leadership program for Latino immigrant parents with children 0-5 years of age.

We are thrilled for FIS’s next chapter under the leadership of Yolie Flores. Her background, experiences, and values make her the right fit, at the right time, to lead FIS. We are grateful to Dr. Tommy Chang’s leadership over the last several months and excited that he will be returning  back to his role on the Board of Directors.

Please join us in welcoming Yolie Flores to FIS.


Shamya Ullah
Families In Schools Board Chair