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, humanities 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 public and independent 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 suburban school district collaborative. 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, he received the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major for Education Award from the Cambridge NAACP.

Dr. Leslie JiménezDirector 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.

Jenny ChungCurriculum 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. 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.

Mia Ferej, Special Assistant
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 for the Office of Student Services.

Manny JeudyAssistant Program Manager for Family Engagement
Manny is a long time Cantabrgian for 30 plus years and a caregiver of 4 children where three of which are current students in the CPS system. After spending some time outside the state of Massachusetts to obtain a bachelors in Science and gaining work experience, Manny returned to the Cambridge community to start a family of his own. A proud alum of the John M. Tobin and CRLS, Manny has the unique experience of once being a student in the CPS system who has been a direct beneficiary of entities like the Family Engagement and many others. Manny has long standing roots in the community and giving back to the very same community who has provided so much, is a dream come true. After obtaining a bachelor of science at UNH, he went on to pursue a career in higher education where he served as an administrator for the past 7 years. Manny is also an alum of Baby University, a program dedicated to teaching new and growing families in Cambridge through shared experiences on how to be successful caregivers. Manny was an integral piece in building a new Cambridge social group dedicated to the needs of parents/caregivers of color.

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.
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