Women in Educational Leadership (WEL) Symposium

Facilitated By

Dr. Suzette Lovely & Dr. LaFaye Platter

The?WEL Symposium grew out of a desire to see more women flourish in school leadership positions. Since 2018, the Symposium has brought together female educators from Southern California to fortify the strategies, connections and finesse needed to flourish in our careers. Please join us on this voyage of networking, self-discovery and virtual learning!


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Coaching, motivating and encouraging remote employees
Recognizing how to navigate the political climate
Rising to the top in a male-dominated work culture
Leading with an equity lens
Networking and growing with female thought leaders from across the region


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Dr. Shari Fox ? former Superintendent, San Jacinto USD

Dr. Fox spent 40 years as a K-12 educator. She began her career as a middle and high school teacher. She then went on to serve as an elementary and middle school assistant principal, elementary principal, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. She completed her K-12 career as Superintendent of San Jacinto Unified School District. While proud of the many accomplishments achieved during that time, Dr. Fox is most proud of the improved academic achievement during her tenure.

Since retiring, Shari continues her work with the University of La Verne Organizational Leadership Ed.D. program as an instructor where she works with aspiring leaders from across all fields as they grow in their leadership skills.? To date, she calculates that she has chaired 25 dissertation committees and is proud of contributing to the field of research as well as helping to develop practitioners of leadership theories. She also serves as an executive coach to site and district administrators.? Perhaps her proudest moments though came when she was finally able to volunteer in her grandson?s classrooms!?

Dr. Fox is proud co-author of The Politically Intelligent Leader and is busily at work on her second book hoping to be released this summer.

Dr. Cynthia Glover Woods ? Chief Academic Officer, RCOE

Cynthia Glover Woods is the Chief Academic Officer at the Riverside County Office of Education and a member of the California State Board of Education. Her professional experience includes service in multiple positions in districts located in Los Angeles County and Riverside County. She has worked as an instructional assistant, teacher, curriculum specialist, principal, professional development coordinator, curriculum director, and assistant superintendent of instructional services. As Chief Academic Officer, she leads the county office?s Educational Services division with a focus on supporting equitable learning environments and increasing student academic achievement and post-secondary readiness. She facilitates the provision of services to school districts and charter schools in the areas of curriculum, data and assessment, educational technology, and teacher and administrator credentialing.
Cynthia is currently the chair of the Curriculum Instruction Steering Committee of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association and a board member of the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators. Cynthia earned a bachelor?s degree in English from California State University, Long Beach and a master?s degree in educational administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Dr. Leisa Winston ? Deputy Superintendent Human Resources, Laguna Beach USD

Leisa Winston, Ed.D., is the Deputy Superintendent for Laguna Beach Unified School District. She has performed varied roles in education, including teacher, consultant, and district administrator for school districts in Michigan and California, and teaches at the University of California Irvine Clear Credential Program. Her areas of expertise include educational leadership, special education, student services, human resources, and community engagement. She is an active member of ACSA, serving as the ACSA/CAPEA State Co-Chair, Region 17 Human Resources Council Representative, and as an instructor for the ACSA Personnel and Curriculum and Instruction Academies.

Dr. Tammy Blakely ? Executive Director, Student Services, Irvine USD

Dr. Blakely is the Executive Director of Student Support Services in the Irvine Unified School District, serving over 36,000 students. She has served 26 years in education in suburban districts serving diverse students and families. Dr. Blakely received her Bachelor?s in Psychology at UC Irvine, a Master?s in Counseling at Cal State Fullerton, a Master?s in Education Administration at Cal State Fullerton, and a Doctorate in Education from Brandman University. She was a former counselor, site assistant principal and principal, district Coordinator, Director, and Assistant to the Superintendent. Dr. Blakely has also served as a Public Information Officer and District Safety Officer. She is passionate about understanding relationships, influence, and political intelligence to move individuals and groups toward accomplishing organizational and personal goals.

Jayne Christakos ? Chief Business Officer, San Bernardino USD

Jayne Christakos is the Associate Superintendent Business, Facilities, and Operations of the San Bernardino City Unified School District, where she provides leadership for the overall business services of the district. She is actively involved with legislative activities with California Association of School Business Officials (CASBO).

Prior to joining San Bernardino City Unified, Jayne served as the assistant superintendent of business services in the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District; and as the director of fiscal services and the assistant superintendent of business services in the San Jacinto Unified School District. She began her career in education in 1997 as an accounting technician and budget manager for alternative education at the Riverside County Office of Education.

During her lengthy career, Jayne has overseen fiscal services, technology, purchasing, facilities, maintenance and operations, transportation, energy management, nutrition services and risk management.

Susanna Lopez ? Chief Business Officer, Moreno Valley USD

Ms. Susana Lopez has been in School Business for over 18 years. She has worked in a variety of fiscal management positions in both small and large school districts in Orange and Riverside Counties. Currently, Ms. Lopez is the Chief Business Official for the Moreno Valley Unified School District. Ms. Lopez holds a Bachelor?s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.
Susana?s passion is giving back to education and to inspire students to pursue their dreams. As a leader, she is continuously looking for opportunities to develop others on her team; always with the mentality that everyone can grow and learn something new each and every day. She loves to travel and currently resides in Corona.

Dr. LaFaye Platter ? former Deputy Superintendent, Hemet USD

Dr. Platter is an executive leadership coach who works with school districts and businesses on finding simple solutions to complex problems.? Her company, E to the Fourth Power, specializes in helping individuals and teams improve their performance through systems-thinking,?emotional intelligence, and mindfulless.? ?She is a retired deputy superintendent and served in public education for 25 years.? During that time she held the positions of interim superintendent, principal, assistant principal, teacher, and substitute teacher.? She is active in the California?Association of School Business Officials (CASBO) and presents on their behalf to districts all over California.


Saturday, September 12, 2020
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Saturday, November 14, 2020

TIME: 9:00 -10:30AM (Pacific Time)


FEE: $180 per person


?This was an amazing experience, one that I will forever value. I am excited to put into action everything that I learned.?

?WEL taught me that I do not have to be the ?perfect female administrator.? I now know there is no such thing ? who I am and what I bring to the table is exactly what is needed.?

?Each session was motivating and empowering. I can?t wait to continue to work with the network.?