New Leadership Digging in at ECS

We are well into the fall season, and our students and schools are growing and thriving. We are happy to introduce you to our newest leaders and what inspires them to work at Environmental Charter Schools!

Anthony Jowid, Board President, Environmental Charter Schools

Anthony Jowid brings to ECS more than 20 years of operations, sales, marketing and management experience. Currently, he is a Principal and COO at Allied Argenta, which provides multi-family real estate services for partners and stakeholders aiming to create strong sustainable communities where residents can make a home.

Previously, Anthony resided in Denver, where he was a partner and Regional Vice President at CertaPro Painters and then moved to Chicago where he was Chief Sales Officer for the Rabine Group, a $200 Million group of companies focused on construction services and fuel distribution. Anthony’s previous non-profit work includes Denver Urban Scholars where he was a mentor for nine years to inner city youth, and served on the Board. He was selected as the 2009 Male Mentor of the Year and 2011 Impact Person of the Year. Anthony holds an M.B.A. with a concentration in International Business and a B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business.

“Prior to becoming Board President, I had the opportunity to work closely with ECS students, board members, staff, teachers and principals on an advisory level and board level…the passion, dedication and core values all ECS representatives express is infectious, exciting and inspired me to continue my journey to learn and grow with everyone.”

Farnaz Golshani Flechner, Chief Operating Officer, Environmental Charter Schools

Farnaz Golshani Flechner comes to ECS with more than 20 years’ experience and leadership in the nonprofit sector. Farnaz began her career as an Art and English Teacher in a Title 1 school in LAUSD and at Inner-City Arts. Aiming to tackle greater organizational challenges in our education system, she pursued a degree in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her experience includes serving as the VP of Programs at Chrysalis and Director of Programs and Services at Tides where she oversaw the management of 230 fiscally sponsored social justice projects with more than 600 employees nationwide. In this role, she managed relationships with funders and oversaw risk management, governance, and HR services.

Most recently, Farnaz served as the Executive Director of the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (MBEF) where she led all fund development efforts, raising approximately $7M each year, led grant making, and helped to grow the Endowment from just over $10M to $18M.

“I believe that creating powerful educational opportunities for low income students of color is the most important work that we can do to elevate and improve the future of our democracy and our world. I am inspired by the manner in which ECS approaches this work- the focus on sustainability and supporting students to be leaders in their own communities.”

Farnaz holds a BA in Fine Arts and English Literature from UCLA and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Dr. Qiana O’Leary, Principal, Environmental Charter Middle School – Gardena

Dr. Qiana O’Leary is a visionary leader with 15 years as both an educator and school leader at both primary and secondary levels. She believes in the importance of providing a high-quality public education to all students, and she is committed to exposing all students to a rigorous learning environment that will challenge and stimulate their desire to learn.

“I am deeply passionate about returning to my hometown as the Principal at ECMS-Gardena, a beautiful learning community that works to deliver educational excellence while creating opportunities for learners to explore the world around them through the lens of social justice. Together, we make a perfect fit!”

Committed to social justice, she aims to develop a school community that builds self-efficacy, empowers student voice, and closes the achievement gap. Dr. O’Leary has a PhD in Organizational Leadership from Brandman University and an M.A. in Leadership Education from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Dave Trejo, Principal-in-Residence, Environmental Charter Schools

Dave Trejo will serve as the founding principal of the second Environmental Charter High School, scheduled to open in 2020-2021. Dave joins the leadership team at Environmental Charter Schools with more than 15 years as an educator and school leader in Pacoima and San Fernando Valley.

Dave is an advocate for Restorative Practices in schools and is a sought after public speaker on student-centered education. In 2013, Dave was the keynote speaker at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers Conference. Dave received his B.A. in Theatre from USC and is currently participating in the Ryan Fellowship through the Accelerate Institute in Chicago. Through this program he will continue to learn the best practices in leading a successful school through the objectives of the Accelerate Framework: Change Management, High-Performing Team, Constructive Environment, Aspirational Environment, Data-Driven Culture, and Black Belt Teaching.

“I believe that access to high-quality educational opportunities in the community in which you live is a civil right. I feel connected to the communities that ECS serves and wish schools like these existed when I was growing up in El Monte, CA., I am passionate about the work ECS is doing to develop students that are not only prepared to graduate from college but equipped to make their world a better place. ECS teaches students that they are their own superheroes and I am excited to contribute, as well as learn from this beautiful community.”

Tanya Esqueda, Assistant Principal, Environmental Charter Middle School – Gardena

Tanya Esqueda is an innovative school leader with a passion to guide underserved students to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become lifelong learners and productive citizens of their community. Tanya began her career in education at UCLA where she developed a desire to be part of the educational reform movement and to provide students with broader opportunities to go to college. She has eight years of experience in secondary charter school administration and has worked in collaboration with stakeholders to improve school culture, increase student performance, and build teacher capacity.

“When I was a teacher in the classroom, I sought creative ways and spaces to encourage student learning. When I first visited ECS, it was the “learning through the environmental lens” that resonated with me. Hearing the ECS story and the level of intention behind the campus setting and connection to students’ learning was inspiring and I knew this was the type of school I wanted to come to everyday. I love that there is growth happening all around and all the time.”

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