Dr. Ana F. Ponce is the executive director of Great Public Schools Now (GPSN), an organization dedicated to ensuring all Los Angeles students receive a high-quality education by accelerating the growth of high-quality public schools. She joined GPSN at the start of 2019, after almost 18 years at Camino nuevo Charter Academy where she led the organization as it grew from one to eight schools. Her accomplishments prompted Forbes Magazine in 2011 to name her one of the top seven most powerful educators in the world.
Ana is the youngest daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first in her family to graduate college. She earned a full scholarship to Middlebury College in Vermont, a world away from Pico Union, the neighborhood where she grew up. Her first teaching job was a Teach for America assignment at a public school in South L.A. After three years in the classroom, she landed a fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York, where she earned a master’s degree in bilingual education.
Determined to close the achievement and opportunity gaps for low-income minority students, she returned to Los Angeles and helped open the first independent charter school in South L.A., where she taught for seven years before joining Camino Nuevo in 2001.
Ana holds a second master’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a doctorate in educational leadership from Loyola Marymount University. A veteran of the charter schools movement in California, she serves on several boards and committees, including the Board of UnidosUS, a national Latinx advocacy organization, and a founding member of Educators of Color (EdLoC), an organization dedicated to elevating the leadership, voices and influence of people of color in education and to improving public education through more inclusion efforts.