Meet our Education Specialists: Grace Cruz

Grace Cruz is an education specialist at Center for Powerful Public Schools who received her bachelor’s degree in history and her master’s degree in education from NYU, as well as a teaching certificate from Johns Hopkins University in school leadership and administration with a focus on information technology.  

She applied to work at the Center because she wanted to work with the schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in a capacity-building role. 

“It seemed like the perfect match,” said Cruz. “[Teaching] is the only career I’ve ever had. I started in education through community service, tutoring while I was a student [in college].” 

At the Center, she works with the teaching teams at four schools (Van Nuys, Hollywood, Bell and Roosevelt) to provide professional development, instructional strategies and assist with implementation of a Linked Learning approach within the auto and manufacturing, law and education career pathways.  

“I like working with lots of different schools,” said Cruz. “It’s really fun to work in different parts of Los Angeles, some [schools] are more urban, [some are] suburban, they’re all quite distinct.” 

When approaching education, she likes to start with the student first. Then, she tends to build instruction around what she wants her students to be able to know, to do and to become, rather than sticking with one concrete type of teaching that doesn’t necessarily work for every learner.  

“I hope that [the educators I work with] feel much more equipped to do project based learning and work with each other collaboratively, [thereby] working with each other in a more purposeful way,” said Cruz.  

Prior to her work at the Center, Cruz has 20 years of education experience, including serving as a middle and high school teacher, assistant middle school director, diversity educator and high school principal.

Cailynn Knabenshue

Cailynn Knabenshue is a Communication Intern at Center for Powerful Public Schools. She produces digital content and research for the Center. Previously, she created digital content for the Los Angeles Times.