jacqueline-elliot-founderJacqueline Elliot, Ed.D., Co-Founder

Dr. Jacqueline Elliot has been dedicated to public school reform since 1986 when she first became a teacher in Pacoima, California. She holds a B.A. in Anthropology, a Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential, and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration earned at CA State University, Northridge. She also holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change earned at Fielding Graduate University. As a former LAUSD teacher, Jacqueline Elliot was driven by an intense desire to improve the state of public education when she began working in an underserved community of Pacoima in the NE San Fernando Valley in 1986. In 1999, she founded Community Charter Middle School for the community. It was the first charter middle school to serve students in Los Angeles and was so successful and well received, that Dr. Elliot subsequently founded several more schools to serve the same geographic area. Dr. Elliot began collaborating with Dr. Ref Rodriguez in 1998 who was committed to creating a high- quality charter middle school for students in NE Los Angeles. In 2003, they co-founded Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC schools). They have supported each other’s efforts while co-founding 17 highly successful public charter schools located in NE Los Angeles and the NE San Fernando Valley. In 2013, they co-founded PUC National, and in response to the requests of Rochester community members and E3, they expanded into Rochester, New York with the creation of PUC Achieve Charter School. Dr. Elliot is a fellow of the Pahara-Aspen Institute’s Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She has served on the Boards of Multicultural Learning Center and Fenton Public Charter Schools and now serves on the Los Angeles Advocacy Council and 501c4 board of the California Charter Schools Association. Dr. Elliot is also an adjunct professor in graduate studies for the Institute of School Leadership and Administration at Loyola Marymount University and was the recipient of the Hart Vision Award from the California Charter Schools Association, as Leader of the Year.

ref-rodriguez-founderRef Rodriguez, Ed.D., Co-Founder

Ref Rodriguez is co-founder of Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC Schools), a network of charter schools serving students in Northeast Los Angeles and the Northeast San Fernando Valley. Ref’s original inspiration for starting a charter school was to offer high-quality learning experiences for youth in the predominantly Latino working-class community where he grew up. His outrage for being considered “fortunate” for having graduated from college because of his socio-economic background is what drives him to create and support schools where college graduation is an expectation for all. Before joining the charter schools movement, Ref worked in the business sector and as a teacher and administrator in Catholic parochial schools. He is the first of five children of Mexican immigrants to graduate from college. Ref is an adjunct professor in the School of Education at his alma mater, Loyola Marymount University, where he developed a master’s and administrative credential program for aspiring leaders in charter schools. He was appointed to the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing by Governor Jerry Brown in 2013. He is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.. Ref is proud to represent the diverse communities in Board District 5 as a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.