About the Office of Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) formally launched the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (OEIB) in July 2021. The office currently includes both the Equity Office and the Family Engagement Office, which was previously established in 2019. Together, as the OEIB, our goal is to support the CPS mission to eliminate racial, cultural, and socio-economic opportunity gaps that exist throughout the school district, to develop and engage in equitable and meaningful stakeholder engagement practices, and to co-generate plans that will support inclusion and belonging.

The Equity Team spent the summer of 2021 reviewing the many equity-focused initiatives undertaken throughout the district. Over the past several years, CPS and stakeholders throughout CPS (scholars, caregivers, educators, and community members) have implemented multiple equity and racial equity initiatives. As the newly established OEIB, it is both an honor and a humbling responsibility to be charged with building on these efforts and developing and implementing a robust inaugural equity plan focused on advancing our commitment to becoming an anti-racist and anti-bias school district.

For a printable version of the OEIB Launch Letter, please click here.

About the OEIB Team
Chief Equity Officer, Manuel J. Fernandez
Manuel 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, 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 private and public 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 collaborative of suburban school districts. 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 received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Education Award from the Cambridge NAACP.

Director of Equity, Leslie Jiménez

Leslie 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.

Curriculum and Training Specialist, Jenny Chung
Jenny 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. She is a parent of a JK student at the Tobin Montessori. 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.

Youth Advocacy Specialist, Kini Udovicki
Kini is a first generation Croatian/Serbian American, who was born and raised in Cambridge, MA. She is a graduate of Clark University, where she received a B.A in Sociology, with a concentration in Race and Ethnic Relations, in 2001. She continued her education at Suffolk University, where she graduated with a MEd in Guidance Counseling, in 2004. In 2010, she completed her License in Mental Health Counseling. She worked as a Guidance Counselor in Arlington, from 2004- 2012. In 2012, Ms. Udovicki returned to Cambridge to work as a School Adjustment Counselor, at the Cambridge Street Upper School (CSUS). Ms. Udovicki has a passion for social justice. At CSUS, in addition to her counseling role, she has functioned as a Cultural Proficiency facilitator for the last seven years. She is a trained Restorative Justice facilitator, which she used frequently at CSUS. Additionally, Kini is a co-founder of a nonprofit called Equity Roadmap, with a subsidiary mentoring program, called Friday Night Hype. Friday Night Hype focuses on addressing the opportunity gap with middle school age youth in Cambridge. She is a single mother to her 12-year-old daughter and 17 year old niece.

Special Assistant, Mia Ferej
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.

Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

CPS Definitions of Equity and Racial Equity
In 2019, the Administration and School Committee adopted definitions of equity and racial equity.

Equity means that each student, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or socioeconomic status will have access to the opportunities, resources, and support they need to attain their full potential.

Racial Equity means the absence of institutional and structural barriers experienced by people based on race or color, that impede access, opportunities, and results.

Achieving racial equity requires proactive and continuous investment in communities of color, who have endured centuries of systemic oppression. CPS is committed to dismantling structures rooted in white privilege, to hearing and elevating underrepresented voices, and recognizing and eliminating bias.

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