CEO / President
Yolie has dedicated her career to improving the lives of disadvantaged 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.
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, where she served for four years, and the kinds of schools and students that she helped bring attention to as CEO of Communities for Teaching Excellence (2010-2012), focused on ensuring an effective teacher for every student, in every classroom, every day.
Upon graduation from Huntington Park High School, Yolie went on to be the first person in her family to attend a four-year university, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Redlands, and a Master’s degree in social welfare from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Yolie 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 Los Angeles 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.
Between 2007 and 2011, Yolie served as a member and Vice President of the LAUSD Board of Education, the second largest school district in the nation. She was elected to serve students that were reflective of her own experience as an English learner and child of immigrants. It was through this lens and her deep concern that, for too long, too many children of similar background have been denied a quality education, that she championed some of the most significant reforms at LAUSD. During her tenure, Yolie led efforts that challenged the culture of failure and that denied too many children a quality education. These efforts 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. Her focus on improving outcomes for English language learners,
improving quality and access to the District’s early education programs, and increasing dual language programs from preschool through grade 12 reflected Yolie’s commitment to challenging the structural inequities in public education for children from low-income families and children of color.
Prior to her role at Families In Schools, Yolie served 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 laid the groundwork to mobilize parents to demand a society that supports them in doing the most important job there is: raising children. Prior to Parent Nation, 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.