Teach For America Los Angeles presented Ana Ponce, a former TFA teacher and an alumna of LMU’s Ed.D. in Educational Leadership for Social Justice program, with its Alumni Leadership Award at the organization’s 2014 annual benefit dinner.
Ponce is chief executive officer of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, a network of six charter schools and an early education center serving some 3,200 students in the greater MacArthur Park neighborhood near Downtown Los Angeles. Under her supervision, the Camino Nuevo schools have won the Title 1 Academic Achievement Award, the California Association of Bilingual Education Seal of Excellence and the California Distinguished Schools award.
Originally from Mexico, Ponce grew up in the neighborhood where her schools are located. A 1991 alumna of Teach for America and a veteran of the California charter school movement, she spent three years in the classroom before becoming one of the founding teachers and administrators at The Accelerated School in South Los Angeles. Under her instructional leadership, The Accelerated School was named elementary school of the year by Time magazine in 2001.
In 2011 Ponce was named by Forbes magazine as one of the top seven most powerful educators in the world. She embodies the LMU Doctoral program’s mission to prepare transformative leaders and change agents to serve all youth. Of her experience at LMU, she remarked, “This has given me the tools to create a community of leaders and become a stronger advocate for the students I serve.”