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, 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.

Dr. Leslie Jiménez, Director 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.

Kini Udovicki, Youth Advocacy Specialist
KiniKini 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.

Jenny Chung, Curriculum 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. 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.

Robin Harris, Director of Family Engagement
Robin HarrisRobin, a fifth generation Cantabridgian, has been an educator for almost forty years. Leading by example, she fosters collaborations and partnerships when working with families, students, staff or community organizations. Her career in education has taken her to Dallas, Brazil, Dover/Sherborn, Boston and Cambridge. She was a Cambridge School Committee member for two terms and actively involved in the founding of the Benjamin Banneker Charter School. Robin has worked as classroom teacher, curriculum specialist, assistant principal, and in 2020 completed twenty years as Principal of Fletcher Maynard Academy, the same school her grandmother graduated eighth grade in 1905. Robin’s career has been dedicated to improving the social, emotional and academic lives of children, especially those youngsters that are sometimes marginalized by others and society.

In the longstanding argument of Heredity versus Environment, Robin stands firmly planted in the environment camp. She has spent her life exposing youth to learning in and outside the traditional classroom walls, including extensive field trips and international travel. She has taken students around the world, including, but not limited to Mexico, England, Senegal, China, Costa Rica and Morocco. Robin holds a BS in Elementary Education, an MEd in Special Education, and a CAGS in Education Administration. She serves on numerous boards and committees and won multiple awards and recognitions. Her current focus is empowering parents and caregivers to become forces for change in the Cambridge Public Schools and to have schools and the district embrace and acknowledge the expertise parents bring to the table that support student well being and academic achievement.

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.

Office of Equity, Inclusion & 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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