Community Schools Planning Committee: Washington Unified School District

Aliyah Chaudhary

“I am interested in building a school where every child has a chance to strive. Although I am still a student, I am willing to help my community in any way I can. I am glad to be working with all of these wonderful people to help make our new community school.”

Ashley Young

“I am a Senior at River City High School. I’m excited to be a part of this planning of community schools where as a student, I can voice what is needed in a high school environment. Going into this project I am eager to learn more about my community creating an impactful change.”

Bianca Moreno

“I am the Yolo County Children’s Alliance (YCCA) West Sacramento Family Resource Center (WSFRC) Program Manager. I have been with YCCA for almost 2 years and before that worked in a preschool setting for 6 years. I received my BA from Sac State in Child Development back in May 2018 and am currently in the process to apply for a MA in Public Administration. But something I would like to say is that hopefully I am able to bring my skills and experience into this planning committee to help make a difference to children, families, and the community along with learning from those around me.”

Cristal Godina Vargas

“I am a first year, Latina teacher at Riverbank Elementary. I graduated from UC Davis with my B.S. in Human Development with a double minor in Education and Chicanx Studies and received my teaching credential from UC Davis. I am currently working towards my masters in education.  I have been volunteering in afterschool programs since I was 15 years old and have become passionate about teaching and student advocacy along the way. I come from a family of immigrants, both of my parents are from Mexico. Soy orgullosamente Mexicana! My goal is to advocate and empower my students through their learning. I also wish to help bridge the gap between the community resources in our community and our parents and families.”

Eli Leon

“I am currently an Outreach Specialist for Yolo High and WUVA Virtual Academy K-8. I have been a part of the WUSD family for 16 years working in most of our schools throughout our district. In my position, I have been able to build strong relationships with our parents, students and community partners to help and support their needs. I enjoy helping families to make the educational adventure less stressful by keeping families in the loop at all times as well as advocating for our students. I pride myself in helping out the community that saw me grow up. I also have two kids who attend our schools. I want to continue supporting to our community by having accessible services to everyone.”

Dr. Jay Berns

Dr. Berns is presently serving as the Director of Special Programs & Student Services encompassing a 26-year career in public education serving in a variety of roles including teacher, vice-principal, and principal at the TK-8, elementary, middle, and high school principal levels. Additionally, Dr. Berns has a doctorate with a concentration in educational leadership.

As an instructional leader, Dr. Berns believes in the importance of building and motivating collaborative teams that are focused and committed to student achievement.

Jeff Miller

“I am the Senior Program Manager for the West Sacramento Home Run, a cradle-to-career initiative of the City of West Sacramento. I have a background in state education policy and program management, and have worked in K-12 education and youth development in California, Colorado, Illinois and Wisconsin since about 1990.”

June Flores

In her 12 years as an educator, June Marie Flores has been privileged to work with students and teachers in a variety of K-12 settings here in the states and abroad. She has worked as an English school owner, a Special Education classroom teacher, along with an ELD teacher. Currently, June is an Activities Director and Leadership teacher for River City High School. In her role as a culture builder, her goal is to create a community where there is a perfect balance of individualism and unity. She and her 41 Leadership students are dedicated to creating a memorable high school experience for all RAIDERS. Educational degrees include a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of California, Davis, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Loyola Marymount University.  

Karissa Cruz

“As a first year, first gen, Latina teacher, I am proud to be a part of this impactful journey. I will be the voice not only for my students, but for my students’ families as well. I graduated from CSU Sacramento with my bachelors in Kinesiology and I am currently pursuing my multiple subject credential through CSU Fresno.”

Lorena Vega Aguilar

“I am both a parent and a staff member of Washington Unified School District. I have been with this District for 20 plus years. As a Spanish Parent Liaison I strive to increase parents’ engagement and serve the bridges for parents while strengthening our school family and Community involvement. My goal is to provide our parents and families with information, tools and resources to support learning and in our students’ academic success. I am proud to be a part of this planning committee to learn how to better serve our students, families and community.”

Mónica Valadez

“I am a parent, alumni and a staff member at WUSD. I’ve been a Home School Liaison for the past 14 years and I continue to enjoy my role. I currently live in West Sacramento with my husband and my four children. I am fluent in both English and Spanish. My main goal is to empower parents to become active participants in the education of their children and also to facilitate and provide information to parents and students about our current resources available throughout the school system and the community. I also build bridges of communication and work to remove cultural or linguistic barriers or other obstacles that can impede the home and school from working together. I’m excited to be part of this amazing planning committee.”

Ruth Pagano-Trn

“As an Outreach Specialist, one of my primary objectives is to ensure that all students have their needs met and appropriate resources provided to them. I feel honored and am incredibly passionate about being part of this equity-based work. Having the opportunity to help develop a ‘Community School’ is something I am eager and grateful to be included in.”

Samantha Burr

“I am both a parent and a staff member of WUSD. My children have been in WUSD their entire scholastic careers but I have worked in many different districts under many titles. Currently I am one of the WUSD district school nurses and I work with Riverbank, Westmore Oaks, Westfield Village, and WUVA but I help all other sites when needed. I am excited to open our school community to the broader community and learn about what we as a district need to offer to create better outcomes for our students and their families.”

Graciela Garcia

“I am a lifelong resident of West Sacramento. My education includes a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis in children and families. I am very passionate and committed to supporting all youth and their families as they navigate through the educational system. I am currently a School Social Worker and provide social and emotional support to all youth within the Washington Unified School District.”

Brooke White
Cherie Viramontes
Doug Knepp
Erica Garza
Jeanette Ali
John Armes
Selselah Bahrami
Valentina Kryzhko