Network Directory

Previously Featured Members

October 26th - November 1st

Collin Felch  K-12, Cohort 2014

Collin Felch is a 2nd year student in the USC Ed.D. Program focusing on K-12 Leadership.  Prior to this program, Mr. Felch earned his Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from USC in 2010.  Over the past 5 years, Mr. Felch has been working as a teacher, instructional coach, and Assistant Principal in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).  He is currently the Assistant Principal of the Communication and Technology School on the Diego Rivera High School Learning Complex in Los Angeles.

Mr. Felch’s passion is in global education.  His dissertation is focusing on how Principals of International Studies High Schools promote global competency.  His love for global education began when he was teaching at the Ambassador School of Global Leadership, infusing global competencies into his daily curriculum.  These practices ultimately led to him facilitating a TEDx event in 2012.  Mr. Felch’s global classroom practices were also highlighted in the Hewlett Foundation’s documentary on “Deeper Learning.”  These practices were some of the reasons Mr. Felch was awarded as an LAUSD Teacher of the Year in 2013.

Mr. Felch has been continuing to pursue international connections through his partnerships with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network.  Through these partnerships, Mr. Felch appeared as an International Judge on China’s Education Television Show Cometition, Star of Outlook in 2014.  Finally, Mr. Felch has recently been appointed to the Board of Directors of the “Citra Anak Bangsa” School in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Melissa L. Miller – Ed Psych, Cohort 2015
Office: (213) 740-8081

Melissa Miller is a USC Libraries' supervisor, where she has managed the personnel, major projects, budget and financial reporting for the USC Hoose Library of Philosophy since 2013. Miller teaches strategic research skills for USC Libraries' in the USC Writing program and freshman GE Seminars. She’s an active member in the USC Libraries' virtual and in-person reference services, the professional development committee, and undergraduate orientation planning committee, as well as a standing committee member of The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Reference and Information Services Section (RISS). Miller has overseen the design and creation of student assistant training tutorials and subject specific research guides, as well as conducting outreach to department faculty in Philosophy, Religion, and Anthropology. She has an undergraduate degree in psychology from USC and recently graduated from USC Marshall School of Business, magna cum laude, with a Master of Management in Library and information Science and is currently a full-time doctoral student in the USC Rossier School of Education with a focus in Educational Leadership and Educational Psychology for higher education. 

Dissertation topic: Leadership in the transition to teaching online among post-secondary faculty and student engagement in virtual classrooms. 

Research interests: Human machine interaction, specifically as technology advances and the demand for online education, training, and socially-assistive options increase, what will motivate and retain students? 

Goals: To combine my love of teaching and interdisciplinary research as a professor for masters or doctoral level students, hopefully for USC Rossier!

Thank you,
Melissa L. Miller, MMLIS
Ed.D. student, Cohort 2015
Educational Psychology Concentration - Higher Education focus
USC Libraries, Hoose Library of Philosophy, MHP201

Cami Lynne Bushem – TEMS, Cohort 2015
Contact: (909) 730-0951
Cami Bushem graduated from University of California, Riverside in 2010 with a B.A. in French Language and Literature. She then went to Azusa Pacific University to receive both her Single and Multiple Subject teaching credentials in addition to earning her M.A. in Education with an emphasis in Teaching. Cami is currently the French teacher and Academic Decathlon coach at Azusa High School. She is hopeful that her school site will soon become an International Baccalaureate (IB) school as she received an IB Diploma from Centennial High School in 2007. Cami was born with bilateral, sensorineural hearing loss for reasons unknown. As a student, Cami struggled to keep up with her peers socially but she was still able to be academically successful and become fluent in French by the time she was a senior in high school. Cami recently underwent surgery to receive a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid (BAHA) and has since then been adjusting to hearing 360 degrees, which many take for granted. She is happy to share her language-learning experience while being mostly deaf and her journey learning to hear with anyone who is interested in listening!

Dr. Artineh Samkian  Rossier Faculty Member
Office: (213) 821-5841
I am so blessed to be teaching in the Ed.D. program! This has to be the best job in the world. I mostly teach Inquiry I and II, but I sometimes also teach the research class in the TEMS concentration. Before coming to USC, I worked as a researcher, first in LAUSD’s Research and Planning Department and then for First 5 LA, a funding agency that provides resources for programs targeted at children ages 0-5. I have experience conducting research in various contexts including K-12, higher education, and community. As for my educational background, I received my doctorate in Social Research Methodology from the UCLA Graduate School of Education.  I truly believe in the power of data – collected and analyzed systematically – to inform decisions in practice. I feel fortunate to be in a position to teach research methods to educational leaders, who I hope will apply this knowledge in their own settings. And when you do apply your learning, come back and tell me! I learn so much from all of you, and love to hear about all the great work you do every day!

Argelis A. Ortiz  Ed Psych, Cohort 2015
cell (323) 337-3177
CoachArt's mission is to create a transformative arts and athletics community for children and families impacted by childhood chronic illness.  We're always looking for more volunteers and partner organizations to further our cause, are you on-board? 

CoachArt Highlight: Argelis A. Ortiz
Our Program Director, Argelis A. Ortiz, is pursuing his Educational Leadership Doctorate at USC. The program is designed to strengthen the skills needed for leading groups in high-performing schools, districts, universities, and other organizations and to connect relevant research with practice. The skills he gains will benefit CoachArt by being able to identify collaborative opportunities with program partners, artists, and athletes that propel the organization to the "next level." Argelis hopes to empower the staff by providing hands-on professional development opportunities that increase their skills and abilities.
A father of two, Argelis balances his deep commitment to CoachArt with raising his two daughters -- Emma (age 2) and Lily (age 1). 

Thank you,
Argelis A. Ortiz, MSW
Ed.D. candidate, 2018

John Moran – K-12 and Higher Ed, Cohort 2013
cell: (951) 660-9898

Expected to Graduate in May of 2016
John is in his third year of the “K-12 and Higher Ed. Leadership” cohort, and his dissertation explores “African-American Parent Perspectives on Special Education.” He earned his Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1989. His career has included leadership roles in Christian schools, colleges, and the IT staffing industry. He also taught in colleges and universities for nine years.

He is in his 5th year as Superintendent of Riverside Christian Schools (RCS), where he has implemented the Applied Math, Science and Engineering (AMSE) Program. AMSE features The International Space Station (ISS) program in which students build and send experiments via rocket to the ISS. Other programs John has implemented at RCS include: 1:1 iPads, dual college credit offerings, collaborative education, an international student program, robotics, a debate team, and musical theater arts.

John credits the Rossier experience for transforming him into a research-based innovator of education.

Jason Hasty – K-12, 2015
(562) 803-8215
cell: (562) 419-6890
Jason Hasty serves as a Coordinator for Educational Programs at the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) overseeing professional development, curriculum, instruction and assessment. He has extensive experience in educating at-risk youth throughout the Los Angeles area. His past experience includes teaching high school, coaching football and track and coaching teachers at Pasadena High School. Plus, he served as dean, assistant principal and principal at Soledad Enrichment Action Charter High School. From 2006-2010 he had the unique opportunity to teach high school English in England. He earned a bachelors at Ball State University in Indiana where he played Division I football, and he completed his masters at Azusa Pacific University in Educational Leadership. Currently, he is attaining his Doctorate at USC to build capacity as an educational leader so he can make a more impactful difference with Los Angeles' most undeserved students and communities.

“They don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.”

Jason Hasty
Coordinator III,
Professional Development
Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
Educational Programs
Los Angeles County Office of Education

Etsy Gross – TEMS
Ms. Gross strives to advance effective teaching practices and optimize individual student achievements in Hebrew language learning. She is driven by the belief that mastery of Hebrew will promote students’ understanding of their history, culture and tradition, excite them about life-long Jewish learning, and foster a sense of belonging to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Professional background
Ms. Gross joined Milken Community Schools in 1999 as a Hebrew teacher and later became the Hebrew department chair for Grades 7-12. In the summer of 2006 she moved back to Israel with her husband and two boys. During the 3 years away from Milken she served as a Hebrew Educational Consultant for innovative Hebrew programs in various Jewish Day schools across the U.S., Canada, the former USSR, Israel and Australia. As part of her mentoring role, she trained new and veteran Hebrew teachers on the principles and didactic of teaching Hebrew-as-a-second-language at the Hebrew College in Boston and in Israel. In 2009, she was delighted to return to Milken and the Stephen S. Wise community as the Director of Hebrew Studies, K-12. This year, in addition to returning to the classroom teaching middle and high school students, Ms. Gross is the Associate Coordinator for DeLeT L’Ivrit and a visiting lecturer at Hebrew Union College.

Educational background
Ms. Gross earned her B.A. in English Linguistics and a teaching credential in teaching English-as-a-second-language Magna Cum Laude from Bar Ilan University in Israel. She also holds an M.A. in Management and Leadership in Education from Tel Aviv University in Israel Magna Cum Laude. Her thesis on identity and language among remigrating adolescents from the former USSR was presented at the International Symposium on Bilingualism at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and at the Literacy & Language Convention at Haifa University in Israel. Currently she is in the first year of her Doctoral program in Educational Leadership at University of Southern California.

October 12th - 18th 

Angela C. Fajardo  K-12, Cohort 2014
11020 Inglewood Ave, Lennox CA 90304

cell 310-776-2168
Angela Fajardo is a native of Granada, Nicaragua, and moved to Los Angeles in 1983. She graduated from Garfield High School, where she was taught by Jaime Escalante. She attended Loyola Marymount University and earned a Bachelor's degree in Spanish and a Master's degree in Bilingual/Bicultural Education. Ms. Fajardo taught math and science at Lennox Middle School for nine years, mathematics and Spanish Language at Animo Jackie Robinson Charter High School for three years, was principal at Beulah Payne Elementary School in Inglewood Unified School District, and was a clinical faculty member at Loyola Marymount in the area of teacher preparation.

Ms. Fajardo is currently in her second year of the Urban Educational Leadership doctoral program. Ms. Fajardo is a proud mother of her thirteen-year old daughter, Regina Mercedes, who attended the Lennox School District's (LSD) Dual Language Program. Ms. Fajardo has also been serving on the LSD Board for the last eight years as President and Vice-President, where she works diligently with staff to maintain a common vision and mission with strategic priorities to enhance quality education.

Maria Ruelas – Ed Psych, Cohort 2015
Maria Ruelas is a 1st year doctoral student at the USC Rossier School of Education.  Prior to entering the doctoral program, Ms. Ruelas earned her master’s degree, Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA) and Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credentials at the USC School of Social Work.  For the past four years, Ms. Ruelas has served as the District Social Worker for the Lawndale Elementary School District (LESD).  She has become a leader in the field of social work and education by redefining her role in school settings.

Over the last year, Ms. Ruelas has aided in changing the infrastructure of LESD's schools by hiring eight school social workers, and partnering with more than ten community mental health agencies and universities to address the social and emotional needs of their students.  Ms. Ruelas has enabled LESD to be a Teaching Institute by supervising more than 50 master-level social work interns.  Interns and students at LESD are provided with the latest evidenced-based, data-driven frameworks to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase schools' sense of safety and support, and in turn, resulting in improved academic outcomes.

Paradigm shifts in school mental health has highlighted Ms. Ruela's work at LESD as a trauma-informed field placement.  By integrating trauma sensitivity, social work interns are able to address root causes of behavioral dilemmas, and educators will feel empowered to improve achievement expectations.  As a result, LESD eliminates barriers to academic success by changing the fabric of education through collaboration, integration and innovation.

Dr. Paula Angulo-Landeta – Alumni, Cohort 2011
Paula Angulo-Landeta earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2011. Her dissertation “Globalization, Curricular Elements, Organizational Structures and Perceived Student Outcomes in California Schools” was nominated for Dissertation of the Year.

As the education landscape continues to evolve, she brings practical connections between research and implementation as a Graduate Teacher, Administrator, and Common Core Consultant.

She’s currently teaching and mentoring at the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology and is University Field Supervisor. Both of these roles allow her to apply research and practice to address the needs of the next generation of teachers in the Common Core era.

As a Common Core Consultant she’s provided professional development to Charter Schools to ensure they achieve their goals efficiently and effectively. Bringing common core best practices to life within the schools setting. 

She began her career as a founding teacher of Lennox Math Science Technology Academy helping it grow into the #20 High School in US News and World Report. After 9 years with Lennox, she transitioned into administration. During the last four years as an Assistant Principal with Partnerships for Uplifting Communities, she’s built relationships with parents, teachers and students with the unrelenting vision that every student can succeed.

Kelly Tillman – TEMS, Cohort 2015
I currently hold the 2015 cohort representative chair position in the Educational Doctorate Student Assembly, and I'm a preschool teacher in Santa Monica. I’ve been working with children and educational professionals for 10 years, beginning in my senior year of high school in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts and my Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. I've been a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Education Honors Society since 2009 and I am a new member of USC’s Phi Delta Kappa chapter. My dream is to become an early childhood education professor later in my career. It's my first year at USC in the Ed.D in Educational Leadership program and I couldn't be more thrilled and honored to be part of this wonderful community!

Rossier Faculty Member  Dr. Pedro Garcia

Dr. Pedro E. Garcia has been a Professor of Clinical Education at the Rossier School of Education since 2008.  Prior to joining the USC faculty, Garcia served as superintendent of schools for 17 years.  He was the third longest tenured superintendent among urban districts in America, and dedicated his professional leadership to public schools in Nashville, Tennessee, Corona-Norco Unified School District, and Carpinteria.  In Nashville, which was his last district of service, Dr. Garcia successfully increased the graduation rate from 49 percent to 79 percent; he was also honored as Nashvillian of the Year in 2002.

In 2003, President Bush appointed Garcia to the Presidential Commission on Service and Community Participation. He has also worked with numerous community organizations to improve schools, which included creating an office for community engagement in Washington DC in 2002, and opening the first customer service center in Nashville to help parents navigate the educational system in 2005.

Dr. Garcia emigrated from Cuba in his late teens, and relocated to Iowa, where he first learned English. He earned his B.A. degree from Kansas University, his master's degree from San Diego State University, and his doctorate degree from USC in 1983.

Dr. Garcia is proud to be a Trojan; he is fully devoted to ensuring Rossier's Ed.D students are thoroughly prepared to serve as America's most powerful change agents in today's urban communities.

October 5th - 11th 

Ursula Worsham – Higher Ed, Cohort 2014 
office: (213) 740-9433

The Best of Both Worlds

As the Assistant Director of Admissions in The Office of Admissions and Scholarships, I have the distinct privilege of having served as a liaison during the application process to many prospective students, only to be matched with the retrospect of my first year student experience.  As a second year student in the Ed.D. in Educational Leadership program at USC Rossier, I reflect upon a year of challenge and support.  

In my experience, the Ed.D. program provides a forum in which to engage in active self-reflection, critical analysis of scholarly research, and authentic dialogue with colleagues and faculty, in efforts to solve localized practitioner problems amongst the populations we individually and collectively serve.  

Personal highlights include collaborative problem solving, professional development, and the opportunity to dialogue with colleagues with varying personal and professional experiences within and outside the classroom.  

I truly have the best of both worlds.  

Fight On!

Nisha Parmar – Ed Psych, Cohort 2014

Nisha Parmar is currently a second year Ed Psych student in Rossier’s doctoral program.  Prior to entering the Ed.D program, Nisha earned hear first master’s degree in geochemistry at the University of Montana, and her second master’s degree in secondary education at Pepperdine University. For the past six years, Nisha taught all science disciplines to high school students. This past year Nisha transitioned into higher education and she currently works with student athletes an assistant learning specialist at USC.  What she enjoys most is the feeling of making a significant impact in these athletes’ lives, and their genuine appreciation for her support. Nisha’s dissertation topic focuses on the effectiveness of access programs for retaining first generation females in STEM majors. Ultimately she would like to teach master’s level education courses for future science educators to inspire females to pursue their dream in the STEM field.

Jacob Jung  K-12, Cohort 2014
(909) 538-5388

Jacob Jung is a 2nd year K-12 Leadership doctoral student.  After graduating with a biology degree, Jacob worked in the Biotechnology industry as a quality control technician.  A year later, he decided to pursue his passion in teaching and received his Master’s in education and has been an educator for nine years.  For the past eight years, Jacob has been a teacher at William Workman High School in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, teaching Biology, AP Biology, and AP Environmental Science and Engineering. 

Jacob has also been the coordinator for the Career Technical Education (CTE) program, Environmental Studies Academy and the mentoring program, Link Crew.  Currently Jacob is a secondary science coach in the Rowland Unified School District.  His future goal is to be a program director and instructor at a teacher education program.  He hopes that his passion for teaching, love of learning, and charisma becomes contagious in fostering transformative leaders in the world.

Fight On! 

Merari L. Weber Ed.D – Alumni, Cohort 2012

Merari L. Weber earned her doctorate from USC’s Rossier School of Education in May 2015. She has been incorporating her dissertation findings into her English as a Second Language curriculum and credit ESL classrooms in adult school and community college, her specialization since 1997.  Currently, she has been working alongside Drs. Rebecca Acosta ’15 and Toutoule Ntoya ‘15 in promoting an online professional community on Twitter under the hashtag #sceduchat.  While learning how to use Twitter herself, she has begun using this medium as a classroom tool in her credit ESL classrooms.  Her students have been reading English literature and working on a Twitter project.  They have taken on leadership roles by posting focused discussion questions, interacting with each other, and practicing their 21st Century skills integrating technology and a growth mindset into their process.  Dr. Weber is excited about the professional and educational possibilities that can come about from this extension of our Trojan network! Fight on!  @tchrtesol

Rossier Faculty Member  Dr. Paula Carbone

Dr. Paula M. Carbone is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Education at Rossier. Her professional career has been dedicated to providing students in high needs schools learning opportunities leading to academic attainment. Her work at Rossier is aimed at promoting effective approaches for the pre-service teachers in the MAT, the educational leaders in the Ed.D., and the graduates in our classrooms and schools to have the ability to enact and sustain change for egalitarian educational excellence.

This year, she is piloting a methods-course in the MAT integrating community resources for understanding the rich cultural and historical background in which students live. She is also meeting with graduates in a teacher-development group to provide collective support as they grapple with learning problems in their practice.

Dr. Carbone's goal is to equip strategies to disrupt the status quo, to equalize learning opportunities, to impact organizational change.