Who We Are

Manuel J. Fernandez, Chief Equity Officer
ManuelManuel is a second generation Cape Verdean American that identifies as a Black cisgender male. He is the founding Head of School of Cambridge Street Upper School. He is a 40 year veteran educator and has served as a counselor, humanities teacher, middle school and high school principal and a K-8 assistant principal. He is well versed in anti-racism and cultural proficiency, school culture and workplace climate, equity leadership coaching and family engagement. He has over 25 years experience as a skilled facilitator of equity related themes. He has consulted with public and independent schools, community groups and workplace institutions providing services to advance equity and inclusion.

He is the former Director of the Wayland METCO Program, two-term President of the METCO Directors’ Association and founding Executive Director of Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (now IDEAS) an anti-racist professional development suburban school district collaborative. He is also co-founder of Students United for Racial Equality. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts / Dartmouth, Northeastern University, Wheelock College and for Teachers 21. He is a Community Advisor with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and served on the board of the Brockton Cabo Verde Association. In 2018, he received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Education Award from the Cambridge NAACP.

Dr. Leslie JiménezDirector of Equity
LeslieLeslie is a proud first-generation Mexican American from Compton, California. After serving as a high school science teacher to an amazing group of students, she fell in love with education and since then has committed to increasing the opportunities and outcomes for all students, especially those traditionally underserved, including low-income, English Learners, Latinx, African American, and Special Education students.Leslie has experience working in both the district and charter sectors, across the K-12 spectrum, and with different school stakeholders (students, educators, caregivers, school and district leaders, board members, and community partners). She taught science in various secondary schools in Los Angeles and has served in a range of leadership roles, including Parent Workshop Coordinator, Founding and Instructional Lead Teacher of a transformational middle school in Los Angeles, and as a School Leader at an elementary school in San Jose. She also served as the Director of Quality Diverse Providers for the Oakland Unified School District. Most recently, Leslie served as a Special Assistant to the Superintendent at Cambridge Public Schools, where she led the strategic planning and development of monthly anti-racism professional learning sessions for approximately 60 school and district leaders.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Leslie holds a master’s degree in Education Policy and Administration from Loyola Marymount University, and a Doctorate in Education Leadership (Ed.L.D.) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Leslie also holds teaching and administrative/superintendent credentials in California and Massachusetts.

Jenny ChungCurriculum and Training Specialist
Jenny ChungJenny has taught at three different CPS schools, most recently at Putnam Avenue Upper School as the founding 8th grade social studies teacher. After 14 years in the classroom, Jenny became the district social studies instructional coach where she partnered with the Democratic Knowledge Project (DKP) at Harvard in order to create anti-racist curriculum for civics education in addition to supporting new educators on a weekly basis. She is an in-district instructor for the Studying Skillful Teacher course, a co-leader of the Asian Employee Resource Group, a part of the Educators of Color Coalition Leadership Team, and a co-founder of Cambridge Families of Asian Descent. Jenny is Californian, born and raised, transplanted to Cambridge. At Pomona College she studied Cultural Psychology and then went to study Race & Ethnic Studies in Education at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. After obtaining her MA, she worked as a Human Relations Specialist in Orange County, CA, working with schools to build campus environments that are respectful and inclusive. Jenny’s Chinese name means “heart as big as the sky,” and she learned as a young child that her role in the world was to love all people, especially those who didn’t feel that they belonged; that approach is the foundation of her work.

Sam Musher, Youth Advocacy Specialist
Sam MusherBefore joining OEIB, Sam was a middle school teacher-librarian for 18 years, the last 8 at Rindge Ave. Upper Campus (RAUC) in Cambridge. Advising student-led clubs has always been a joyful part of their work, including 5 years as RAUC’s first GSA (Genders & Sexualities Alliance) advisor. Sam has been a community leader as well, serving as a longtime union rep in the Cambridge Education Association, on the core planning team for Cambridge’s first Community Pride Day in 2022, and as a coordinator with Mutual Aid Medford and Somerville (MAMAS). They hold a Bachelor of Arts in Educational History and Public Policy from Brown University and a Masters in Library and Information Science from Simmons University. Sam identifies as white, queer, and Jewish.

Sam made a banner for her 6th grade advisory classroom that says, “Take Care of Each Other,” and that is the mission statement of her work as an educator. She is passionate about loving, healing-centered educational spaces, and about the power of young people to change the world.

Mia Ferej, Special Assistant
Mia has been employed with CPS since 2015. Before becoming the Special Assistant for the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and the Office of Strategy, she worked as the Clerk Specialist for the Office of Student Services (OSS). During her time as a Clerk Specialist, Mia served as the main point of contact and provided high quality administrative support to the OSS coordinators, Special Education Director and the Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Student Services.

Raymond Porch, The Director of Family and Community Engagement
Raymond PorchRay possesses more than 19 years in secondary and postsecondary education. Ray’s professional experience and background includes prominent roles in leadership, teaching & learning as well as experience in education policy research. Prior to arriving in Cambridge, Ray held the post of Chief Equity Officer in Burlington Public Schools. During his time in Boston Public Schools Ray served as a middle school principal at an alternative school for over-aged and under-credited students, a Co-principal at a K-8, District Director of Recruitment, Cultivation and Diversity Programs at Boston Public Schools where he oversaw the development and implementation of cultivation and retention programs for educators of diverse backgrounds and experiences. As a practitioner Ray has served as middle school math teacher at The Boston Renaissance, as well as served as an instructional leader while serving as the Director of Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning at the Haley Pilot (k-8) as well as the Joseph Lee (k-8). Ray also served as the academic remediation coordinator at (ABCD) Action for Boston Community Development Program in service of at-risk high school students. In this role Ray collaborated with University High School and Ostiguy High School teachers and guidance staff and implemented strategies to increase graduation rates for over-aged and under-credited Boston Public Schools students in grades 11 and 12. He also spent 4-years as a physical education teacher at the Inly Montessori School (k-8) an independent school in Scituate, Ma. Ray has served as an adjunct math instructor at Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology while also serving as the College’s Associate Director of Community Relations.

Ray holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and english; a Masters Degree in Education Administration (Both from University of Massachusetts) where he was honored as a 2017 “book-award” scholar for academic excellence and leadership. Ray recently completed the defense of his PhD dissertation at Canterbury University- London. He holds multiple certificates in leadership and change management from Harvard school of education and school business. Ray is currently a 2nd year fellow in “Influence 100 program” a Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary education program for aspiring superintendents as well as a graduate of the Rennie Center (National) Education Policy program. Ray is also a current advisory board member for (TRHT) Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation project at Middlesex College.

Manny JeudyAssistant Program Manager for Family Engagement
Manny JeudyManny is a long time Cantabrgian for 30 plus years and a caregiver of 4 children where three of which are current students in the CPS system. After spending some time outside the state of Massachusetts to obtain a bachelors in Science and gaining work experience, Manny returned to the Cambridge community to start a family of his own. A proud alum of the John M. Tobin and CRLS, Manny has the unique experience of once being a student in the CPS system who has been a direct beneficiary of entities like the Family Engagement and many others. Manny has long standing roots in the community and giving back to the very same community who has provided so much, is a dream come true. After obtaining a bachelor of science at UNH, he went on to pursue a career in higher education where he served as an administrator for the past 7 years. Manny is also an alum of Baby University, a program dedicated to teaching new and growing families in Cambridge through shared experiences on how to be successful caregivers. Manny was an integral piece in building a new Cambridge social group dedicated to the needs of parents/caregivers of color.

Debbie Bonilla, Family Engagement Specialist
DebbieDebbie is a proud Puerto Rican woman and single mother to three Black American and Puerto Rican children. Debbie was born and lives in Cambridge and has lived there most of her life. Currently, she is the Family Engagement Specialist for the Cambridge Public Schools and formerly served as the Title I Family Liaison and Homeless Service Outreach Worker for Cambridge Public Schools, and as a Baby University Family Care Worker for the City of Cambridge. She co-founded The Spot, a place that provides free clothing, and other necessities to the community; she co-founded a nonprofit called Equity Roadmap, with a subsidiary mentoring program, called Friday Night Hype, a program that focuses on addressing the opportunity gap with middle school age youth in Cambridge; co-founder of Canopy Equity Coaching LLC. Debbie is a Trained and experienced Restorative Justice Circle Keeper, mentors victims of domestic violence, is a founding member of the Riverside Community Care Family Advisory Board, served in the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, and worked to further justice in Cambridge Public Schools through the Building Equity Bridges Project. She is the co-coordinator of Las Comadres, Boston Chapter, a Latina Network Group. She serves on several local boards and committees. Her life’s work has been in ensuring equity, access, participation, and rights for all. Her passion for and commitment to Race and Equity work drives her in all areas of her life. She is motivated to help create spaces where every voice has a chance to be heard.

Dennis Takeshita, Equity & Inclusion Fellow
Dennis T.Dennis worked previously as a 7th grade teacher in Wahiawa, HI and as a 9th grade teacher in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles. As an educator, he was the advisor for the Buddies Club (an LGBTQ youth safe space). Providing safe spaces as well as engaging students in identity reflection and SEL activities is something Dennis advocates for and believes in strongly. In addition to teaching, Dennis has founded Open2Opportunity, a mentorship program that matched recent college grads to young professionals. Dennis holds a B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science from UC Berkeley. He is now an Ed.M. candidate in the Education Policy and Analysis program at Harvard Graduate School of Education with a concentration in Identity, Power, and Justice in Education.

Kasey Clermont, Social Worker For Students/Families Experiencing Housing Insecurity
Kasey ClermontKasey worked previously as an elementary school adjustment counselor in Cambridge, MA She joined CPS in 2018 in various roles. More recently, she has joined the OEIB team as the Social Worker for families experiencing housing insecurity. Her professional and educational experiences also include time spent in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia as well as in Haiti and Trinidad & Tobago. Kasey earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a focus on Global Studies/Social Justice, and a masters in Mental Health Counseling / School Adjustment Counseling " She is passionate about mental health and is a strong advocate for social justice.

Angel Cox, Equity & Inclusion Fellow
Angel CoxAngel has 14 years of experience as an attorney, with expertise in criminal, education, labor and employment law, and litigation. Her encounters with functionally illiterate juvenile defendants as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office led her to represent school districts in teacher quality initiatives/labor and employment matters. Her experience at the intersection of two fundamentally flawed systems, witnessing compounding injustices towards the most vulnerable, most profiled, and most demonized members of society – Black and Latino adolescent males - was the beginning of a journey from adversary to activist/advocate. Following a transformational experience mentoring historically underserved students at a high school in East Harlem, NY, Angel is dedicated to systems-level transformation and organizational leadership/change that cultivates liberatory, innovative, and culturally responsive educational environments. Angel is an Ed.M. candidate in the Education Leadership, Organizations, and Entrepreneurship program with a concentration in Identity, Power, and Justice in Education.

Office of Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Contact Us

Manuel J. Fernandez, Chief Equity Officer
Leslie Jiménez, Director of Equity
Sam Musher, Youth Advocacy Specialist
Ailene Orr, Curriculum and Training Specialist
Mia Ferej, Special Assistant
Raymond Porch, Director of Family and Community Engagement
Manny Jeudy, Assistant Program Manager for Family Engagement
Debbie Bonilla, Family Engagement Specialist
Dennis Takeshita, Equity & Inclusion Fellow
Angel Cox, Equity & Inclusion Fellow
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